Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Geoscientists follow arsenic from chicken feed to streambeds

13.10.2005


What happened to the chicken when she crossed the road is less important that what happens to what she eats when it is used as fertilizer.



Organic arsenic is fed to poultry to prevent bacterial infections and improve weight gain. A little bit of arsenic is taken up by the tissue and the majority of it is excreted in urine. Poultry litter -- the wood chips, feathers, droppings, and urine from under poultry houses -- is rich in nitrogen and phosphorous, so is a logical fertilizer. But what happens to that arsenic?

Virginia Tech geoscientists are determining what happens to such feed additives when they are part of the manure applied to agricultural fields. They will present their research at the Geological Society of America national meeting in Salt Lake City Oct. 16-19.


In research funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Madeline Schreiber, associate professor of geosciences at Virginia Tech, carried out field and laboratory studies to discover the fate of arsenic fed to poultry. She and her graduate students found that bacteria in the litter and in shallow subsurface soil transform organic arsenic to inorganic arsenic. Organic arsenic is not highly toxic to humans, but inorganic arsenic, with its organic component removed, is toxic.

"We found that organic arsenic is highly soluble in water and is rapidly biotransformed to inorganic arsenic," Schreiber said. Despite laboratory findings that show a strong adsorption of inorganic arsenic to minerals in the soils and aquifer sediments, a surprising finding from water samples from streams receiving runoff is that low concentrations of arsenic are transported to streambeds instead of being retained by the aquifers, Schreiber said. "We think that the arsenic is adsorbed onto nanoscale particles that pass though our filters and through the soil column," said Schreiber. "This suggests that particle transport is an important mechanism in arsenic cycling in these watersheds."

Graduate student Mary Harvey is currently studying the adsorption potential for organic arsenic to iron oxides and clay minerals. Although much of the organic arsenic is biotransformed to inorganic arsenic before it reaches the aquifer, rapid flushing of organic arsenic in to the subsurface during storm events introduces organic arsenic to the subsurface; thus, understanding its adsorption is important.

Schreiber emphasized, "All of the arsenic concentrations we are finding at our field site are below the drinking water standards, even below the new standards of 10 parts per billion, which will come into effect in February 2006."

Schreiber is now collaborating with microbiologist John Stolz of Duquesne University, and expert on bacteria that transform arsenic. Schreiber and Stolz are looking at bacteria present in the litter and soil and the conditions under which biotransformation occurs.

Schreiber will deliver her paper, "Arsenic cycling in agricultural watersheds: The role of particles," at 3:10 p.m. at the Salt Palace Convention Center, room 250 DE. Harvey will present "Adsorption characteristics of roxarsone, an organoarsenic poultry feed additive," following Schreiber’s talk. Co-authors with Harvey are Schreiber and Professor Christopher Tadanier, Research Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences at Virginia Tech.

Susan Trulove | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vt.edu
http://www.geol.vt.edu/hydro/ms/ms.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas
19.07.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht NSF-supported researchers to present new results on hurricanes and other extreme events
19.07.2018 | National Science Foundation

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>