Effects of Environmentally Relevant Concentrations of Poultry Litter Associated Contaminates on the Sexual Development of Xenopus laevis
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Poultry litter contains high levels of natural sex hormones, nitrogen, phosphorous, and trace amounts of heavy metals. Poultry litter runoff from poultry and farming operations in the Delmarva region can have serious impacts on frog development in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. In this study, we investigated potential effects of litter compounds on Xenopus laevis development when exposed to environmental levels (0.35 and 0.70 g/L) of litter solution. We found that despite rapid hormone degradation, poultry litter solution still affected X. laevis development. Hormones were also more persistent in the lower poultry litter concentration, leading to even greater effects. Slowed growth and increased female gonadal abnormalities were observed after exposure to 0.35 g/L but not to 0.70 g/L of litter solution, and increased male gonadal abnormalities were observed after treatment to both litter concentrations. The developmental impacts examined in this study may have greater environmental impacts on frog reproduction and survival.