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In vitro assessment of thyroidal and estrogenic activities in poultry and broiler manure

The Science of The Total Environment
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.11.098
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Poultry
  • Broiler
  • Manure
  • Thyroidal Activity
  • Estrogenicity
  • Agricultural Science
  • Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Medicine


Abstract Among the many chemicals found in avian manure, endocrine disruptors (EDs), of natural or anthropogenic origin, are of special environmental concern. Nowadays, an increasing amount of estrogens is being released into the environment via the use of manure to fertilize agricultural land. While most research in this field has focused on estrogenic phenomena, little is known about alterations related to other endocrine systems, such as the thyroidal one. Here we simultaneously assessed the potential estrogenic and thyroidal activity of poultry and broiler litter manure using in vitro approaches based on estrogen receptor (Er) and thyroid receptor (Tr) transactivation assays. In addition, leaching experiments were performed to assess whether the EDs present in the manure pass through a soil column and potentially reach the groundwater. Manure from four broiler and four poultry farms was collected in two sampling campaigns carried out in two seasons (fall and spring). Extracts from broiler and poultry manure exhibited strong thyroidal activity. Only poultry manure showed estrogenic activity, which is consistent with the low levels of estrogens expected in hatchlings. Leakage experiments were performed in columns with two kinds of arable soils: sandy and loamy. No estrogenicity or thyroidal activity was detectable in soils treated with the manure or in the corresponding leachates. These results indicate that substances with estrogenic or thyroidal activity were degraded in the soil under our experimental conditions. However, the long-term effects associated with the constant and intensive application of manure to agricultural land in some regions require further research.

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