National Water Quality Laboratory

Friday October 19, 2018

Environmental Science & Technology

Bioaccumulation of Pharmaceuticals and Other Anthropogenic Waste Indicators in Earthworms from Agricultural Soil Amended with Biosolid or Swine Manure

Chad A. Kinney, Edward T. Furlong, Dana W. Kilpin, Mark R. Burkhardt, Steven D. Zaugg, Stephen L. Werner, Joseph P. Bossio, and Mark J. Benotti

January 2008

Analysis of earthworms offers potential for assessing the transfer of organic anthropogenic waste indicators (AWls) derived from land-applied biosolid or manure to biota. Earthworms and soil samples were collected from three Midwest agricultural fields to measure the presence and potential for transfer of 77 AWls from land-applied biosolids and livestock manure to earthworms. The sites consisted of a soybean field with no amendments of human or livestock waste (Site 1), a soybean field amended with biosolids from a municipal wastewater treatment plant (Site 2), and a cornfield amended with swine manure (Site 3). The biosolid applied to Site 2 contained a diverse composition of 28 AWls, reflecting the presence of human- use compounds. The swine manure contained 12 AWls, and was dominated by biogenic sterols. Soil and earthworm samples were collected in the spring (about 30 days after soil amendment) and fall (140-155 days after soil amendment) at all field sites. Soils from Site 1 contained 21 AWls and soil from Sites 2 and 3 contained 19 AWls. The AWl profiles at Sites 2 and 3 generally reflected the relative composition of AWls present in waste material applied. There were 20 AWls detected in earthworms from Site 1 (three compounds exceeding concentrations of 1000 µg/kg), 25 AWls in earthworms from Site 2 (seven compounds exceeding concentrations of 1000 µg/ kg), and 21 AWls in earthworms from Site 3 (five compounds exceeding concentrations of 1000 µg/kg).A number of compounds that were present in the earthworm tissue were at concentrations less than reporting levels in the corresponding soil samples. The AWls detected in earthworm tissue from the three field sites included pharmaceuticals, synthetic fragrances, detergent metabolites, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), biogenic sterols, disinfectants, and pesticides, reflecting a wide range of physicochemical properties. Forthose contaminants detected in earthworm tissue and soil, bioaccumulation factors (BAF) ranged from 0.05 (galaxolide) to 27 (triclosan). This study documents that when AWls are present in source materials that are land applied, such as biosolids and swine manure, AWls can be transferred to earthworms.

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