June 7, 2008 12:45 PM Subscribe
Long revered for its value as a fertilizer, and as a raw material for explosives, guano is the dried droppings of various birds and bats. The New York Times has published an excellent account of the Peruvian harvest of this valuable resource including a multimedia slideshow. Guano was superseded by synthetics in the early part of the 20th century, due to the development of the Haber Bosch process, which fixed atmospheric nitrogen. An attempt to harvest bat guano from a Grand Canyon cave in the late 1950’s was beset by technical problems and was ultimately unsuccessful. The remaining structures at the canyon rim are now a tourist attraction.
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