Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2015MD324B

The Fate of Emerging Contaminants in Poultry Litter Digestion

Institute: Maryland
Year Established: 2015 Start Date: 2015-03-01 End Date: 2016-02-29
Total Federal Funds: $34,970 Total Non-Federal Funds: $70,549

Principal Investigators: Stephanie Lansing, Stephanie Yarwood, Lance Yonkos

Abstract: The Delmarva Peninsula is one of the top poultry producing regions in the United States. Excessive land application of poultry litter has impacted surface and groundwater quality causing eutrophication and pathogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. While these impacts are better known, non-traditional poultry litter-associated contaminants (PLACs), including veterinary antibiotics and naturally-occurring steroid hormones, and their effect on surface waters is relatedly unknown. Studies have demonstrated the potential for these compounds to be transported into ground and surface waters where they pose risks to human and environmental health. Anaerobic digestion (AD) of poultry litter could potentially reduce or remove these contaminants, but their fate and effect in poultry litter AD systems is unknown. This study will determine the fate of antibiotics and steroid hormones in poultry litter through AD process using traditional analytical methods (LC-MS/MS) in addition to biological assays. Comparisons of the two methods will provide insights into the biological activity of specific concentrations of low level contaminants both pre and post-digestion. The results will advance understanding of the effect of the manure matrix on the bioavailability of these compounds and determine whether anaerobic digestion can be an effective method of mitigating the release of antibiotics and steroid hormones into the watershed.