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Re: did you know


Sea birds are also a source of guano. Is its chemical composition the same as that of bats?
Cathy

On Aug 4, 2008, at 10:29 PM, Melody wrote:

Unfortunately it seems that the research you are reporting on has omitted the one drawback to South American bat guano...it contains high levels of an
extremely toxic chemical called perchlorate.  Interestingly enough,
perchlorate is also a common ingredient in ammunition manufacturing as well as in rocket fuel used by the military and was also used as a storage medium for the spent byproducts of nuclear weapons manufacturing (i.e. uranium and plutonium). One of the largest world exporters of bat guano at the turn of the 19th century was Chile and Chilean bat guano is the only place in nature where perchlorate occurs naturally. All over the US there are groundwater and deep level aquifers polluted by this substance that takes over a century to
break down into harmless nitrogen, oxygen, and carbons.  And once the
groundwater becomes polluted, it can leach into the soil above and around it. Many of you may remember that our groundwater here in Hills, IA (pop. 679) is contaminated with perchlorate. EPA still has not nailed down a source other than possibly the fireworks displays we do once a year (yeah, that's what they say but hydrogeologist friends of mine on the West Coast dispute this claim, stating that the declining levels of perchlorate in our water/soil indicate a rate of decay that would point to a contamination far earlier than when these displays started.) Another very likely source of conamination could possibly
be Chilean bat guano as American farmers were heavy users of this as a
fertilizer well into the early half of the 1900's. Because of the heavy use of perchlorate by the military, much of the information about perchlorate is
difficult to track down unless you know where to look.


Blessings in Christ's mercy,

Melody

"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in." ~George Washington
Carver


-----Original Message-----
From: "Kitty" [kmrsy@comcast.net]
Date: 08/02/2008 08:41 PM
To: gardenchat@hort.net
Subject: Re: [CHAT] did you know



What prompted this research?
I needed to order some more natural amendments and I usually get them from Nitron. While perusing Nitron's list, I came across Bat Guano, which gave me
a laugh because...
While at work a couple of weeks ago 2 women I don't know came up from
another office to see our Chief Deputy and the woman at the desk behind me. When they finished talking shop one mentioned her bat houses and started telling them all about bat guava. I just had to interupt her and correct guava to guano, guava being a fruit. They were all amazed and not quite believing that anyone would collect it or that it had valuable properties, so of course I explained that I use cricket crap for my bulbs. That really
had them going!

Kitty
neIN, Zone 5
----- Original Message -----
From: "james singer" <islandjim1@comcast.net>;
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>;
Sent: Saturday, August 02, 2008 6:30 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] did you know


Interesting. What prompted this research? When I was 9 or 10, guano
imports from South America were still a big deal. I remember learning
about it in probably the 4th grade.


On Aug 2, 2008, at 12:02 PM, Kitty wrote:

The history of Bat Guano and American Expansion

Stemming from the Incan language (Quichua) for "bird droppings", guano is thought to have been used for centuries in both South American and Pacific Islander civilizations. The Incas discovered that bat rookeries
established on nearby island chains contained vast amounts of this
excellent soil fertilizer, which were easily accessible and provided
amazing results when used on corn and bean crops. Spanish explorers took
both the word and the practice back with them to Europe. Guano soon
became a valuable commodity, rivaling only gold in its value as an
import of the new world.

Later, American farmers eagerly took to using Bat Guano as well, with Congress going so far as establishing the Guano Island Act in 1856. This
act secured future guano supplies by allowing ocean islands to be
claimed as territories in the name of harvesting guano. Incidentally,
many currently owned American Territories were established in this
manner such as Johnson Atoll and the famous Midway Island, which served
as an important forward base of operations during World War II.

It wasn't until after the invention of gunpowder that early chemists
discovered that components of bat guano also lent itself to the
production of powerful explosives. Guano harvesting was increased as the
military found a new use for the unorthodox fertilizer. Bat guano
operations began to spring up all across the world, from the remote
corners of New Zealand to the depths of the Grand Canyon, and they have
continued in production ever since.

Today, Bat guano is still in use as both a fertilizer and a component of some ammunitions. Bat guano has even been taken into space aboard the
Mercury and Gemini space capsules, and was used as the propellant to
deploy the radio transmission antennas after splashdown. Bat guano may have originally been a discovery of the ancients, but its usefulness for
modern society can still be seen today.

I bet Cathy knew all this.

Kitty
neIN, Zone 5
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Island Jim
Willamette Valley
44.99 N 123.04 W
Elevation 148'
Hardiness Zone 8/9
Heat Zone 5
Sunset Zone 6
Minimum 0 F [-15 C]
Maximum 86 F [30 C]

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