4-nonylphenol is a xenoestrogen or manmade compound that mimics estrogen. Male fish exposed to high concentrations of NP from WWTP outflows over an extended period of time have either formed ambiguous genitalia or were unable to form a sex at all (Topp and Starratt 2000). Nonylphenol is also found in biosolids, but little is known of the fate of nonylphenol after biosolid applications. To determine if biosolid application is a potential source of 4-NP release into the environment, the behavior and fate of NP after a biosolid application must be explored.
The degradation pattern and fate of 4-nonylphenol in applied biosolids was investigated in a 45-day greenhouse study using a sandy loam soil potted in conetainers to mimic agricultural site conditions. 3 treatments were applied including a technical NP spike, dried biosolids, and negative soil control to the top 5 cm of soil in conetainers. The initial NP concentration was applied at 21 ppm. Each of the treatment samples was sown with red hardy winter wheat. Samples were collected at day 0, 6, 9, 12, 15, 30 and 45 days. The samples were extracted using an accelerated solvent extractor (ASE) followed by a second extraction using silica gel columns. The samples were analyzed using a gas chromatography mass spectrophotometer (GCMS). The analysis will focus on the fate of NP within the soil samples by testing the leached water, soil within the column and the wheat plants. Also the preferential isomeric degradation of NP will be investigated.