The presence of the hormones estradiol and testosterone in the environment is of concern because they adversely affect vertebrate sexual characteristics. Land spreading broiler litter introduces these hormones into the environment. We conducted two studies. The first study determined the mineralization of C-labeled estradiol and testosterone at three water potentials and three temperatures in four broiler litter-amended soils. With a few exceptions, the mineralization of each hormone either stayed the same or increased with increasing water content (both hormones) and increasing (estradiol) or decreasing (testosterone) temperature. Mineralization was dependent on soil type. The second study determined the incorporation of C-labeled estradiol and testosterone into (i) three soil organic matter (SOM) fractions (fulvic acid, humic acid, and humin) at two water potentials, two temperatures, and one sampling time, and (ii) at one water potential, one temperature, and seven sampling times. As time increased, higher temperature and water potential decreased percentages of C estradiol and testosterone in water- and acetone-soluble fractions and increased percentages in SOM fractions. However, the distribution of the two hormones in SOM fractions differed. For estradiol, higher temperature and water potential increased the percentage in all three SOM fractions. For testosterone, higher temperature and water potential increased the percentage of hormone in fulvic acid and humin. Although the mineralization studies suggest the potential for these hormones to still have environmental effects, the incorporation of the two hormones into SOM suggest that land spreading these hormones may actually be less of an environmental concern.
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