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J Environ Qual. 2005 Jul 5;34(4):1372-9. Print 2005 Jul-Aug.

Sorption, mobility, and transformation of estrogenic hormones in natural soil.

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Dep. of Soil Science, North Dakota State Univ., Fargo, ND 58105, USA.


Potent estrogenic hormones are consistently detected in the environment at low concentration, yet these chemicals are strongly sorbed to soil and are labile. The objective of this research was to improve the understanding of the processes of sorption, mobility, and transformation for estrogens in natural soils, and their interaction. Equilibrium and kinetic batch sorption experiments, and a long-term column study were used to study the fate and transport of 17beta-estradiol and its primary metabolite, estrone, in natural soil. Kinetic and equilibrium batch experiments were done using radiolabeled 17beta-estradiol and estrone. At the concentrations used, it appeared that equilibrium sorption for both estrogens was achieved between 5 and 24 h, and that the equilibrium sorption isotherms were linear. The log K(oc) values for 17beta-estradiol (2.94) and estrone (2.99) were consistent with previously reported values. Additionally, it was found that there was rate-limited sorption for both 17beta-estradiol (0.178 h(-1)) and estrone (0.210 h(-1)). An approximately 42 h long, steady-flow, saturated column experiment was used to study the transport of radiolabeled 17beta-estradiol, which was applied in a 5.00 mg L(-1) solution pulse for 44 pore volumes. 17beta-estradiol and estrone were the predominant compounds detected in the effluent. The effluent breakthrough curves were asymmetric and the transport modeling indicated that sorption was rate-limited. Sorption rates and distributions of the estrogens were in agreement between column and batch experiments. This research can provide a better link between the laboratory results and observations in the natural environment.

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