Coupled steroid and phosphorus leaching from cattle slurry at lysimeter scale

A. Manley, A.L. Collins, A. Joynes, P.-E. Mellander, P. Jordan

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Abstract

Water quality degradation can be caused by excessive agricultural nutrient transfers from fertilised soils exposed to wet weather. Mitigation measures within the EU Nitrates Directive aim to reduce this pressure by including ‘closed’ fertiliser spreading periods during wet months. For organic fertilisers such as slurry and manure, this closed period requires sufficient on-farm winter storage and good weather conditions to relieve storage at the end of the period. Therefore, robust scientific evidence is needed to support the measure. Incidental nutrient transfers of recently applied organic fertilisers in wet weather can also be complicated by synchronous transfers from residual soil stores and tracing is required for risk assessments. The combination of nutrient monitoring and
biomarker analyses may aid this and one such biomarker suite is faecal steroids. Accordingly, this study investigated the persistence of steroids and their association with phosphorus during leaching episodes. The
focus was on the coupled behaviour of steroids and total phosphorus (TP) concentrations in sub-surface hydrological pathways. Cattle slurry was applied to monolith lysimeters either side of a closed period and concentrations
of both steroids and TP were monitored in the leachate. The study showed no significant effect of the treatment (average p = 0.17), though tracer concentrations did significantly change over time (average p = 0.001). While the steroidal concentration ratio was validated for herbivorous faecal pollution in the leachate, there was a weak positive correlation between the steroids and TP. Further investigation at more natural scales (hillslope/catchment) is required to confirm tracer behaviours/correlations and to compliment this sub-surface
pathway study.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103979
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
Volume247
Early online date23 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the Walsh Fellowship (Ref: 2016115) provided by Teagasc to Ulster University, the Teagasc Agricultural Catchments Programme (funded by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine) and Rothamsted Research for part funding this research. We thank the farmer for providing slurry, as well as Andrew Mead, Robert Dunn, and Neil Donovan at Rothamsted Research for their invaluable help. Rothamsted Research receives strategic funding from UKRI-BBSRC (UK Research and Innovation-Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) and the contribution to this work by ALC was supported by the Soil to Nutrition strategic programme under Project 3 (grant award BBS/E/C/000I0330).

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the Walsh Fellowship (Ref: 2016115) provided by Teagasc to Ulster University, the Teagasc Agricultural Catchments Programme (funded by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine) and Rothamsted Research for part funding this research. We thank the farmer for providing slurry, as well as Andrew Mead, Robert Dunn, and Neil Donovan at Rothamsted Research for their invaluable help. Rothamsted Research receives strategic funding from UKRI-BBSRC ( UK Research and Innovation - Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council ) and the contribution to this work by ALC was supported by the Soil to Nutrition strategic programme under Project 3 (grant award BBS/E/C/000I0330).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

Keywords

  • Steroids
  • ASE
  • Faecal pollution
  • Sub-surface pathways

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