Integrated assessment of runoff from livestock farming operations: Analytical chemistry, in vitro bioassays, and in vivo fish exposures

Jenna E. Cavallin, Elizabeth J. Durhan, Nicola Evans, Kathleen M. Jensen, Michael D. Kahl, Dana W. Kolpin, Edward P. Kolodziej, William T. Foreman, Carlie A. Lalone, Elizabeth A. Makynen, Sara M. Seidl, Linnea M. Thomas, Daniel L. Villeneuve, Matthew A. Weberg, Vickie S. Wilson, Gerald T. Ankley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Animal waste from livestock farming operations can contain varying levels of natural and synthetic androgens and/or estrogens, which can contaminate surrounding waterways. In the present study, surface stream water was collected from 6 basins containing livestock farming operations. Aqueous concentrations of 12 hormones were determined via chemical analyses. Relative androgenic and estrogenic activity was measured using in vitro cell assays (MDA-kb2 and T47D-Kbluc assays, respectively). In parallel, 48-h static-renewal in vivo exposures were conducted to examine potential endocrine-disrupting effects in fathead minnows. Mature fish were exposed to surface water dilutions (0%, 25%, 50%, and 100%) and 10-ng/L of 17α-ethynylestradiol or 50-ng/L of 17β-trenbolone as positive controls. Hepatic expression of vitellogenin and estrogen receptor α mRNA, gonadal ex vivo testosterone and 17β-estradiol production, and plasma vitellogenin concentrations were examined. Potentially estrogenic and androgenic steroids were detected at low nanogram per liter concentrations. In vitro estrogenic activity was detected in all samples, whereas androgenic activity was detected in only 1 sample. In vivo exposures to the surface water had no significant dose-dependent effect on any of the biological endpoints, with the exception of increased male testosterone production in 1 exposure. The present study, which combines analytical chemistry measurements, in vitro bioassays, and in vivo fish exposures, highlights the integrated value and future use of a combination of techniques to obtain a comprehensive characterization of an environmental chemical mixture. Environ Toxicol Chem 2014;33:1849-1857. Published 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1849-1857
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Complex mixture
  • Fathead minnow
  • Gene expression
  • Livestock operation
  • Steroid hormone

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