Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Earthworms Found To Contain Chemicals From Households And Animal Manure

Date:
February 27, 2008
Source:
US Geological Survey
Summary:
Earthworms studied in agricultural fields have been found to contain organic chemicals from household products and manure, indicating that such substances are entering the food chain. Manure and biosolids, the solid byproduct of wastewater treatment, were applied to the fields as fertilizer. Earthworms continuously ingest soils for nourishment and can accumulate the chemicals present in the soil.

Scientist collected earthworms from a soybean field fertilized with biosolids. The earthworms were analyzed for 77 different chemicals; 20 chemicals were detected in the earthworms.
Credit: USGS

Earthworms studied in agricultural fields have been found to contain organic chemicals from household products and manure, indicating that such substances are entering the food chain.

Manure and biosolids, the solid byproduct of wastewater treatment, were applied to the fields as fertilizer. Earthworms continuously ingest soils for nourishment and can accumulate the chemicals present in the soil.

The chemicals investigated are considered indicators of human and animal waste sources and include a range of active ingredients in common household products such as detergents, antibacterial soaps, fragrances, and pharmaceuticals. Some of the detected chemicals are naturally occurring such as plant and fecal sterols and fragrances. All of these chemicals tend to be concentrated in the municipal waste distribution and disposal process and are referred to as anthropogenic waste indicators (AWI).

U.S. Geological Survey Scientists and their colleague from Colorado State University at Pueblo published their new findings today in Environmental Science and Technology. The results demonstrate that organic chemicals introduced to the environment via land application of biosolids and manure are transferred to earthworms and enter the food chain.

Scientists found 28 AWIs in biosolids being applied at a soybean field for the first time and 20 AWIs in earthworms from the same field. Similar results were found for the field where swine manure was applied. Several compounds were detected in earthworms collected both from the biosolids- and manure-applied fields, including phenol (disinfectant), tributylphosphate (antifoaming agent and flame retardant), benzophenone (fixative), trimethoprim (antibiotic), and the synthetic fragrances galaxolide, and tonalide. Detergent metabolites and the disinfectant triclosan were found in earthworms from the biosolids-applied field, but not the manure-applied field.

Biosolids are made from the sludge generated by the treatment of sewage at wastewater treatment plants. Biosolids are used as fertilizer by farmers, landscapers, and homeowners when it satisfies U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and local regulations for nutrient, metal, and pathogen content. About half of the 8 million dry tons of biosolids produced in the U. S. each year are applied to the land. Biosolids have been found to be rich in AWIs compared to levels in wastewater treatment plant effluent. In addition, the 1.3 million farms raising livestock in the U. S. generate an estimated 500 million tons of manure annually, much of which is also applied to fields as fertilizer for crops.

This study is part of a long-term effort by the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program to determine the fate and effects of chemicals of emerging environmental concern in aquatic and terrestrial environments, and to provide water-resource managers with objective information that assists in the development of effective water management practices. It was funded in part by a Research Corporation Cottrell College Award and a Faculty Research Grant from Eastern Washington University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by US Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

US Geological Survey. "Earthworms Found To Contain Chemicals From Households And Animal Manure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080223112253.htm>.
US Geological Survey. (2008, February 27). Earthworms Found To Contain Chemicals From Households And Animal Manure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080223112253.htm
US Geological Survey. "Earthworms Found To Contain Chemicals From Households And Animal Manure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080223112253.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins