Guano


Guano

Guano (from the Quechua 'wanu', via Spanish) is the feces of seabirds, bats, and seals. [cite web|url=http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-guano.htm|title=What is Guano?|accessdate=2006-11-09]

Guano manure is an effective fertilizer and gunpowder ingredient due to its high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen and also its lack of odor. Superphosphate made from guano is used for aerial topdressing. Soil that is deficient in organic matter can be made more productive by addition of this manure.

Usage

Guano consists of ammonia, along with uric, phosphoric, oxalic, and carbonic acids, as well as some earth salts and impurities. Guano also has a high concentration of nitrates.

It is estimated that there is only enough phosphorus from current resources to last about 30 years. [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/30/world/americas/30peru.html?pagewanted=1&th&emc=th Peru Guards Its Guano as Demand Soars Again. NY Times, 30 May 2008] Currently vast volumes of phosphorus are needed to produce fertilizer, as it is an essential plant macronutrient. Guano is rich in phosphorus and is an effective phosphorus fertilizer.

History

The word "guano" originates from the Quichua language of the Inca civilization and means "the droppings of sea birds". Incas collected guano from the coast of Peru for use as soil enricher. The Incas assigned great value to guano, restricting access to it and punishing any disturbance to the birds with death. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A765678]

Guano has been harvested over several centuries along the coast of Peru, where islands and rocky shores have been sheltered from humans and predators. The Guanay Cormorant has historically been the most important producer of guano; its guano is richer in nitrogen than guano from other seabirds. Other important guano producing species off the coast of Peru are the Peruvian Pelican and the Peruvian Booby.Fact|date=August 2008

The high concentration of nitrates also made guano an important strategic commodity. The War of the Pacific (1879 to 1883) between the Peru-Bolivia alliance and Chile was primarily based upon Bolivia's attempt to tax Chilean guano harvesters and over control of a part of the Atacama desert that lies between the 23rd and 26th parallels on the Pacific coast. The discovery during the 1840s of the use of guano as a fertilizer and saltpeter as a key ingredient in explosives made the area strategically valuable.Fact|date=August 2008

In this context the US passed the Guano Islands Act in 1856 giving citizens discovering a source of guano the right to take possession of unclaimed land and entitlement to exclusive rights to the deposits. However, the guano could only be removed for the use by citizens of the United States. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A765678] This enabled US citizens to take possession of unoccupied islands containing guano.

By the end of the 19th Century, the importance of guano declined with the rise of artificial fertiliser, although guano is still used by organic gardeners and farmers. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A765678]

One of the major innovators in guano harvesting was Benjamin Drake Van Wissen, an Australian engineer who at the beginning of the 20th Century managed mining operations of large guano deposit located on Nauru, designing an efficient harvesting machine for the guano that maximized the extraction of phosphates.Fact|date=August 2008

ourcing

The ideal type of guano is found in exceptionally dry climates, as rainwater drains the guano of nitrates. Guano is harvested on various islands in the Pacific Ocean (for example, the Chincha Islands and Nauru) and in other oceans (for example, Juan de Nova Island and Christmas Island). These islands have been home to mass seabird colonies for many centuries, and the guano has collected to a depth of many metres. In the 19th century, Peru was famous for its supply of guano.

Bat guano is usually mined in caves and is associated with a corresponding loss of troglobytic biota and diminishing of biodiversity. Guano deposits support a great variety of cave-adapted invertebrate species, which rely on bat feces as their sole nutrient input. In addition to the biological component, deep guano deposits contain local paleoclimatic records in strata that have built up over thousand of years, which are unrecoverable once disturbed.

The greatest damage caused by mining to caves with extant guano deposits is to the bat colonies themselves. Bats are highly vulnerable to regular disturbance to their roosts. Some species, such as "Phyllonycteris aphylla", have low fat reserves, and will starve to death when regularly disturbed and put into a panic state during their resting period. Many species will drop pups when in panic, with subsequent death, leading to a steady reduction in population. Research in Jamaica has shown that mining for bat guano is directly related to the loss of bat species, associated invertebrates and fungi, and is the greatest threat to bat caves on the island.

Properties

In agriculture and gardening guano has a number of uses, including as: Soil builder, lawn treatment, fungicide (when fed to plants through the leaves), nematocide (decomposing microbes help control nematodes), and as compost activator (microbes speed up decomposition). [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A765678]

References

ee also

*Guano Islands Act
*Feces
*Economy of Nauru
*Phosphate rock

External links

* [http://www.proabonos.gob.pe/ ProAbonos]
* [http://www.jamaicancaves.org/jamaican_bat_guano.htm Jamaican Bat Guano and Cave Preservation]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • guano — guano …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • Guano — Guano, à prononcer [gwano], provenant du quechua wanu, est le nom donné aux excréments des oiseaux marins et des chauves souris. Il peut être utilisé en tant qu’engrais très efficace, en vertu de sa grande concentration en composés nitrés. Les… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Guano — Nest des Guanotölpels (Sula variegata) auf der peruanischen Insel La Vieja vor der Halbinsel Paracas …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • guano — [ gwano ] n. m. • 1598, repris XVIIIe; mot esp., du quechua huano 1 ♦ Matière constituée par les amas de déjections d oiseaux marins. « les rochers blancs de guano » (Le Clézio). Le guano est un puissant engrais. 2 ♦ Techn. Engrais fabriqué avec… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Guano — Guano, ein aus Stickstoffverbindungen und phosphorsaurem Kalk bestehendes Gemenge rein organischer Entstehung, das größere Flächen der Erde bedeckt. Er ist hellgrau, gelb, braun oder rot, erdig oder auch hart, riecht nach zersetztem Harn und ist… …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • guano — GUÁNO s.n. Îngrăşământ organic natural, bogat în fosfor (şi în azot), care se găseşte în mari cantităţi în America de Sud, provenit din acumularea excrementelor şi a cadavrelor de păsări, de lilieci din peşteri, a cadavrelor unor animale marine,… …   Dicționar Român

  • Guano — Sm organischer Dünger aus Exkrementen von Seevögeln per. Wortschatz fach. (19. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus span. guano, dieses aus Ketschua huanu.    Ebenso nndl. guano, ne. guano, nfrz. guano, nschw. guano, nnorw. guano. ✎ DF 1 (1913), 257;… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Guāno — Guāno, unter dem Einfluß der Luft, aber bei Ausschluß von Regen entstandene Zersetzungsprodukte der Exkremente von Seevögeln. Guanolager von großer Mächtigkeit fanden sich hauptsächlich auf Inseln der Westküste Südamerikas (Chincha , Ballestas ,… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • guano — guano, mandar al guano expr. frase de rechazo, eufemismo por mandar a la mierda. ❙ «Si hace unos años, pocos, a esta irlandesa le predicen el futuro y le cuentan lo que le está ocurriendo, seguramente manda al guano a la vidente por loca...»… …   Diccionario del Argot "El Sohez"

  • Guano — Gua no, n.; pl. {Guanos}. [Sp. guano, fr. Peruv. huanu dung.] A substance found in great abundance on some coasts or islands frequented by sea fowls, and composed chiefly of their excrement. It is rich in phosphates and ammonia, and is used as a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.