Development and Comparison of 17beta-Estradiol Sorption Isotherms for Three Agriculturally Productive Soils From Different Physiographic Regions in Virginia


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Virginia Tech


Natural steroid estrogens such as 17beta-estradiol in low nanogram per liter concentrations can adversely affect the reproductive health of aquatic organisms. The overall goal of this research was to quantify the sorption of 17beta-estradiol to three soils considered to be agriculturally productive from different physiographic regions in Virginia to aid in modeling the concentration of estrogens available for transport in runoff from agricultural fields.

Batch equilibrium experiments were conducted with various concentrations of 17beta-estradiol (E2) in a background solution of 5 mM calcium chloride and 100 mg/L sodium azide added to four separate soil samples representative of productive agricultural soils from three different physiographic regions of Virginia. Groseclose loam, Myatt sandy loam and Cecil loam were supplied by the Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences Department at Virginia Tech. All soils were collected from the plow layer (0 to 15 cm) except for an additional Cecil soil sample from the Bt horizon. The concentration of E2 in the liquid phase was measured by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and was used to find the time to reach equilibrium and to develop sorption isotherms for each soil.

The time required to reach equilibrium for all soils was less than 24 hours. A linear isotherm provided the best fit to model the sorption of E2 to Cecil and Myatt soils (R2 = 0.94 and 0.96, respectively). For Groseclose soil, the general form of the Freundlich isotherm fit best (R2 = 0.98), although the linear isotherm also provided a good fit (R2 = 0.93). The sorption of E2 to agricultural soil appears to be related to the organic carbon content of each soil (Pearson coefficient, 0.82). Attempts to analyze and create isotherms for conjugated E2 by deconjugating with metholysis were unsuccessful.



sorption isotherms, GC/MS, estradiol, estrogen