Mixed Bases
Interesting Science Facts

How Guanine Got Its Name

In the 1800’s guano from Peruvian costal islands became a highly sought after raw material for fertilizer and gunpowder, leading many world powers to small Pacific islands to mine and study the nutrient rich excrement left behind by seabirds. The US even enacted the Guano Islands Act, allowing for possession of unoccupied islands.

The discovery of the base guanine came in 1844, when it was isolated from Peruvian guano by B. Unger.  Although guanine can be referred to more precisely by other names such as 2-amino-6-hydroxypurine, no other designation is as historically descriptive. Guanine by any other name….


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