Coupled steroid and phosphorus leaching from cattle slurry at lysimeter scale

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Manley, A., Collins, A. L., Joynes, A., Mellander, P-E. and Jordan, P. 2022. Coupled steroid and phosphorus leaching from cattle slurry at lysimeter scale. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology. 247 (May), p. 103979.

AuthorsManley, A., Collins, A. L., Joynes, A., Mellander, P-E. and Jordan, P.

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.

KeywordsSteroids; ASE; Faecal pollution; Sub-surface pathways
Year of Publication2022
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
Journal citation247 (May), p. 103979
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 3 (WP3) - Sustainable intensification - optimisation at multiple scales
Walsh Fellowship (Ref: 2016115)
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online23 Feb 2022
PrintMay 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted17 Feb 2022
PublisherElsevier Science Bv

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