Effect of diet on fecal and urinary estrogenic activity

Journal of Dairy Science
By: , and 



The United States Environmental Protection Agency has identified estrogens from animal feeding operations as a major environmental concern, but few data are available to quantify the excretion of estrogenic compounds by dairy cattle. The objectives of this study were to quantify variation in estrogenic activity in feces and urine due to increased dietary inclusion of phytoestrogens. Ten Holstein heifers were assigned to 2 groups balanced for age and days pregnant; groups were randomly assigned to treatment sequence in a 2-period crossover design. Dietary treatments consisted of grass hay or red clover hay, and necessary supplements. Total collection allowed for sampling of feed refusals, feces, and urine during the last 4 d of each period. Feces and urine samples were pooled by heifer and period, and base extracts were analyzed for estrogenic activity (estrogen equivalents) using the yeast estrogen screen bioassay. Feces and urine samples collected from 5 heifers were extracted and analyzed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to quantify excretion of 7 phytoestrogenic compounds. Excretion of 17-β estradiolequivalents in urine was higher and tended to be higher in feces for heifers fed red clover hay (84.4 and 120.2 mg/d for feces and urine, respectively) compared with those fed grasshay (57.4 and 35.6 mg/d). Analysis by LC-MS/MS indicated greater fecal excretion of equol, genistein, daidzein, coumestrol, and formononetin by heifers fed red clover hay (1634, 29.9, 96.3, 27.8, and 163 mg/d, respectively) than heifers fed grass hay (340, 3.0, 46.2, 8.8, and 18.3 mg/d, respectively). Diet had no effect on fecal biochanin A or 2-carbethoxy-5, 7-dihydroxy-4’-methoxyisoflavone. Four phytoestrogens were detected in urine (2-carbethoxy-5, 7-dihydroxy-4’-methoxyisoflavone, daidzein, equol, and formononetin) and their excretion was not affected by diet. Identifying sources of variation in estrogenic activity of manure will aid in the development of practices to reduce environmental estrogen accumulation.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effect of diet on fecal and urinary estrogenic activity
Series title Journal of Dairy Science
DOI 10.3168/jds.2009-2657
Volume 93
Issue 5
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Toxic Hydrology Program
Description 7 p.
First page 2088
Last page 2094
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