A Brief Review of the Nutritive Value and Chemical Components of Bat Guano and Its Potential Use as a Natural Fertiliser in Agriculture

Bat guano as a natural fertiliser in agriculture


  • SITI-SYAMIM NURFATIHAH ABD RAHMAN Faculty of Resource Science and Technology, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300, Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia
  • ROBERTA CHAYA TAWIE TINGGA Centre for Pre-University Studies, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300, Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6739-656X
  • MOHAMAD FHAIZAL MOHAMAD BUKHORI Centre for Pre-University Studies, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300, Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7395-7036
  • SHARIFAH MONA ABD AZIZ ABDULLAH Centre for Pre-University Studies, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300, Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2014-3266




Bat guano, chemical composition, fertiliser, manure, plant growth


New and improved fertilisers are constantly being introduced to the market to help increase crop yields. However, the common usage of chemical fertilisers had brought upon negative impacts to the environment and the study for sustainable fertiliser is still ongoing. This review will highlight the usage of bat guano as a valuable fertiliser which has a potential to diminish the effects of chemical fertiliser usage, increase yield and is cost effective. Its role as a fertiliser can support the agricultural growth and in turn provides additional care for plants. The chemical compositions of guano which was found to be subpar with other fertilisers support its usage of guano as an alternative for crop yield enhancement. Plant growth performance that shows a significant positive impact of guano on crops, further demonstrates its usage as organic fertilisers. In-depth study of the chemical composition of guano should be pursued as the fertiliser has high beneficial value to the ecology and economy.


Almohammedi, A.N., Almehemdi, A.F. & Al Ajeelee, R.K. (2014). Impact of bat guano Otonycteris hemprichii Camd and seaweed extract on some growth and yield traits of baraka seed Nigella sativa L. Journal of Biology, Agriculture and Healthcare, 4(1): 57-65.

Altintas, A. & Yildiz, G. (2005). Mineral levels of bat guano. Veterinary Journal of Ankara University, 52(1): 1-5.

Assefa S. & Tadesses, S. (2019). The principal role of organic fertiliser on soil properties and agricultural productivity- a review. Agricultural Research and Technology: Open Access Journal, 22(2): 46-50. doi: 10.19080/ARTOAJ.2019.22.556192

Bass, M.S., Finer, M., Jenkins, C.N., Kreft, H., Cisneros-Heredia, D.F., McCracken, S.F. & Kunz, T.H. (2010). Global conservation significance of Ecuador's Yasuní National Park. Public Library of Science ONE, 5(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone .0008767

Bender, D.J., Contreras, T.A. & Fahrig, L. (1998). Habitat loss and population decline: A meta‐analysis of the patch size effect. Ecology, 79(2): 517-533. doi: 10.1890/0012-9658(1998)079[051 7:HLAPDA]2.0.CO;2

Bird, M.I., Boobyer, E.M., Bryant, C., Lewis, H.A., Paz, V. & Stephens, W.E. (2007). A long record of environmental change from bat guano deposits in Makangit Cave, Palawan, Philippines. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 98(1): 59-69. DOI: 10.1017 /S1755691007000059

Buliga, C. (2010). Guano exploitation in Madagascar. Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. 904. https://digitalcollections.sit.edu/isp_collection/904

Demirtas, E.I., Nuri, A.R.I., Arpacioğlu, A., Harun, K.A.Y.A. & Ozkan, C.F. (2005). Chemical properties of different organic manures. Derim. 22(2): 47-52. http://www.derim.com.tr/en/pub /issue/4559/62570

Diba, P.F., Susatyo, E.B. & Pratjojo, W. (2013). Enhancement of N, P and K levels in liquid organic fertiliser using bat guano. Indonesian Journal of Chemical Science, 2(1): 95-101.

Dykes, A.P. (2007). Mass movements in cave sediments: Investigation of a∼ 40,000-year-old guano mudflow inside the entrance of the Great Cave of Niah, Sarawak, Borneo. Landslides, 4(3): 279-290. DOI: 10.1007/s10346-006-0077-5

Emerson, J.K. & Roark, A.M. (2007). Composition of guano produced by frugivorous, sanguivorous, and insectivorous bats. Acta Chiropterologica, 9(1): 261-267. doi:10.3161/1733-5329(2007)9 [261:COGPBF]2.0.CO;2

Fenton, M.B. & Simmons, N.B. (2015). Bats: A world of science and mystery. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Fernandez, N., Viciana, V. & Drovandi, A. (2003). Assessment of the total environmental impact of agrochemicals in the Mendoza river basin. Spain: Organization of Ibero-American States.

Ferreira, R.L. & Martins, R.P. (1999). Trophic structure and natural history of bat guano invertebrate communities, with special reference to Brazilian caves. Tropical Zoology, 12(2): 231-252. doi: 10.1080/03946975.1999.10539391

Ferreira, R.L. (2019). Guano communities. Encyclopedia of caves (pp. 474-484). Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-814124-3.00057-1

Ghanem, S.J. & Voigt, C.C. (2012). Increasing awareness of ecosystem services provided by bats. Advances in the Study of Behavior, 44: 279-302. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-394288-3.00007-1

Giurgiu, A. & Tămaş, T. (2013). Mineralogical data on bat guano deposits from three Romanian caves. Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai Geologia, 58(2), 13-18. doi:10.5038/1937-8602.58.2.2

Goveas, S.W., Miranda, E.C., Seena, S. & Sridhar, K.R. (2006). Observations on guano and bolus of Indian flying fox, Pteropus giganteus. Current Science, 90(2), 160-162. https://www.jstor.org/ stable/24088976

Grantina-Ievina, L. & Ievinsh, G. (2015). Microbiological characteristics and effect on plants of the organic fertiliser from vermicompost and bat guano. Annual 21st International Scientific Conference: Research for Rural Development. 1, 95-101.

Harris, J.A. (1970). Bat-guano cave environment. Science, 169(3952): 1342-1343. DOI: 10.1126/ science.169.3952.1342.c

Hua, L., Wu, W., Liu, Y., McBride, M.B., & Chen, Y. (2009). Reduction of nitrogen loss and Cu and Zn mobility during sludge composting with bamboo charcoal amendment. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 16(1), 1-9. doi: 10.1007/s 11356-008-0041-0

Hutchinson, G.E. (1950). Survey of contemporary knowledge of biogeochemistry 3. The biogeochemistry of vertebrate excretion. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 96.

International Fertiliser Association (2020). The SDGs and sustainable fertiliser production. https:// www.fertiliser.org/Public/Sustainability/SDGs/Public/Sustainability/SDGs.aspx?hkey=beaa00d3-813a-41f1-a4d0-2868855e85e4

Jayasvasti, I. & Jayasvasti, M. (2018). Bat guano as the component of fertiliser or the health hazard? Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, 49(2): 331-339.

Karagoz, K. (2014). Bat guano in agricultural production. Alınteri Zirai Bilimler Dergisi, 27, 35-42.

Karagoz-Sezer, K. & Hanay, A. (2020) Effect of bat guano on cation exchange capacity, some macro nutrient content and reaction of soil (pH). Atatürk Üniversitesi Ziraat Fakültesi Dergisi, 51(2): 140-144. doi: 10.17097/ataunizfd.607312

Kasso, M. & Balakrishnan, M. (2013). Ecological and economic importance of bats (Order Chiroptera). International Scholarly Research Notices, 2013(187415): 1-9. doi: 10.1155/2013/187415

Kincheloe, S. (1983). Fertilizer minerals. Industrial Minerals and Rock, (1): 233-241.

Kingston, T., Zubaid, A., Lim, G. & Hatta, F. (2006). From research to outreach: Environmental education materials for the bats of Malaysia. In Yahya, N.A., Philip, E. and Ong, T. (eds.) Proceedings of the Best of Both Worlds International Conference on Environmental Education for Sustainable Development 2005. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. FRIM.

Linn, K.Z. & Myint, P.P. (2018). Study on the effectiveness of natural organic fertilisers on cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz.) cultivation. Asian Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 3(3): 1-10. doi: 10.9734/AJSSPN/2018/42912

McFarlane, D.A., Lundberg, J. & Rentergem, G.V. (2017). Preliminary observations on tropical bat caves as biogeochemical nitrogen sinks. Proceedings of the 17th International Congress of Speleology, 157-160.

McFarlane, D.A. & Lundberg, J. (2018). New records of guano-associated minerals from caves in northwestern Borneo. International Journal of Speleology, 47(2): 119-126. doi:10.5038/1827-806X.47.2.2169

Misra, P.K., Gautam, N.K. & Elangovan, V. (2019). Bat guano: A rich source of macro and microelements essential for plant growth. Annals of Plant and Soil Research, 21(1): 82-86.

Newman, M.M., Kloepper, L.N., Duncan, M., McInroy, J.A. & Kloepper, J.W. (2018). Variation in bat guano bacterial community composition with depth. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9(914): 1-9. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00914

Nguyen, D.H.V., Nguyen, N.T., Nguyen, T.V., Huang, J.C.C. & Kingston, T. (2015). In Economic Value and Challenges of Harvesting Guano Fertilizer from Bat Houses in the MeKong Delta, Vietnam 3rd International Southeast Asian Bat Conference, 14-17 August 2015, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.

Nowak, R.M. (1994). Walker's bats of the world. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

Oelhalf, C.R. (1978). Organic matter. Allanhold Osman and Co. Publisher.

Ojobor, S.A. & Egbuchua, C.N. (2021). Influence of formulated palm mill effluent and bat guano mixture on maize performance and soil chemical properties in Delta State, Nigeria. Indian Journal of Agricultural Research, 56(1): 28-32.

Oo, A.L., Khine, T.M. & Aye, T.T. (2019). Preparation and characterization of organic fertilisers made from bat guano, rice husk ash and groundnut leaves. Journal Myanmar Academy of Arts and Sciences, 17(1B): 393-405.

Poliquit, D. & Calong, E. (2018). Bat guano levels of application influencing carrot (Daucus carota L.) growth and yield performance. Countryside Development Research Journal, 6(1): 23-29.

Richards, R., Brigida, D., DiMiceli, C., Gersh, K., Sribarra, A. & Iweins, M. (2014). IUCN SSC Guidelines for minimizing the negative impact to bats and other cave organisms from guano harvesting. Gland: IUCN.

Sakoui, S., Derdak, R., Addoum, B., Serrano-Delgado, A., Soukri, A. & El Khalfi, B. (2020). The life hidden inside caves: Ecological and economic importance of bat guano. International Journal of Ecology, 2020: 1-7. doi: 10.1155/2020/9872532

Shetty, S., Sreepada, K.S. & Bhat, R. (2013). Effect of bat guano on the growth of Vigna radiata L. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 3(3): 1-8.

Simmons, N.B. & Voss, R.S. (1998). The mammals of Paracou, French Guiana, a Neotropical lowland rainforest fauna. Part 1, Bats. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 237.

Sothearen, T., Furey, N.M. & Jurgens, J.A. (2014). Effect of bat guano on the growth of five economically important plant species. Journal of Tropical Agriculture, 52(2): 169-173.

Sridhar, K.R., Ashwini, K.M., Seena, S. & Sreepada, K.S. (2006). Manure qualities of guano of insectivorous cave bat Hipposideros speoris. Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems, 6(2): 103-110.

Studier, E.H., Sevick, S.H., Keeler, J.O. & Schenck, R.A. (1994). Nutrient levels in guano from maternity colonies of big brown bats. Journal of Mammalogy, 75(1): 71-83. doi: 10.2307/1382237

Suwarno & Idris, K. (2007). Potential and possibility of direct use of guano as fertiliser in Indonesia. Jurnal Ilmu Tanah dan Lingkungan, 9(1): 37-43. http://repository.ipb.ac.id/handle/123456789/43758

Tan, C.S., Noni, V., Sathiya Seelan, J.S., Denel, A. & Anwarali Khan, F.A. (2021). Ecological surveillance of bat coronaviruses in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. BMC Research Notes, 14(1): 1-6. doi: 10.1186/s13104-021-05880-6

Thampan, P.K. (1993). Organics in soil health and crop production. France: Peekay Tree Crops Development Foundation.

Torres-Jiménez, M.G., Murrieta-Galindo, R., Bolívar-Cimé, B., Wojtarowski-Leal, A. & Piñar-Álvarez, M.Á. (2020). Coffee farmers’ perception of bat guano as fertiliser in agroecosystems of Mexico. Regions and Cohesion, 10(1): 22-35. doi: 10.3167/ reco.2020.100103

Tuttle, M.D. & Moreno, A. (2005). Cave-dwelling bats of Northern Mexico: Their value and conservation needs. Texas: Bat Conservation International.

Ünal, M., Can, O., Can, B.A. & Poyraz, K. (2018). The effect of bat guano applied to the soil in different forms and doses on some plant nutrient contents. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 49(6): 708-716. doi: 10.1080 /00103624.2018.1434540

Vandzurova, A., Pilis, V., Backor, P., Judova, J., Javorsky, P., Faix, S.P.P. & Pristas, P. (2012). Microflora of the bat guano. Folia Veterinaria, 56(2): 68-69.

Voigt, C.C. & Kingston, T. (2016). Bats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of bats in a changing World. Springer Nature.

Walan, P. (2013). Modeling of peak phosphorus: A study of bottlenecks and implications for future production. [Master’s thesis, Uppsala University]. Digital Vetenskapliga Arkivet. http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:640572/FULLTEXT02.pdf

Ware, R.L., Garrod, B., Macdonald, H. & Allaby, R.G. (2020). Guano morphology has the potential to inform conservation strategies in British bats. Public Library of Science ONE, 15(4). DOI: 10.13 71/journal.pone.0230865

Wasti, I.G., Khan, F.A.A., Bernard, H., Hassan, N.H., Fayle, T. & Sathiya Seelan, J.S. (2021). Fungal communities in bat guano, speleothem surfaces, and cavern water in Madai cave, Northern Borneo (Malaysia). Mycology, 12(3): 188-202. DOI: 10. 1080/21501203.2021.1877204

Wurster, C.M., Munksgaard, N., Zwart, C. & Bird, M. (2015). The biogeochemistry of insectivorous cave guano: A case study from insular Southeast Asia. Biogeochemistry, 124(1): 163-175. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230865

Wurster, C.M., Rifai, H., Zhou, B., Haig, J. & Bird, M.I. (2019). Savanna in equatorial Borneo during the late Pleistocene. Scientific Reports, 9(1): 1-7. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-42670-4

Yankova, P., Naskova, P., Malcheva, B. & Plamenov, D. (2016). Impact of the biological fertilisers on the microorganisms and the nutrient elements in the soil. International Journal of Current Research, 8: 39681-39686.



How to Cite

SITI-SYAMIM NURFATIHAH ABD RAHMAN, ROBERTA CHAYA TAWIE TINGGA, MOHAMAD FHAIZAL MOHAMAD BUKHORI, & SHARIFAH MONA ABD AZIZ ABDULLAH. (2023). A Brief Review of the Nutritive Value and Chemical Components of Bat Guano and Its Potential Use as a Natural Fertiliser in Agriculture: Bat guano as a natural fertiliser in agriculture. Borneo Journal of Resource Science and Technology, 13(1), 22–31. https://doi.org/10.33736/bjrst.5100.2023