Bat urea-derived minerals in arid environment. First identification of allantoin, C4H6N4O3, in Kahf Kharrat Najem Cave, United Arab Emirates

Philippe Audra, Pavel Bosák, Fernando Gázquez , Didier Cailhol, Roman Skála, Lenka Lisá, Šárka Jonášová, Amos Frumkin, Martin Knez, Tadej Slabe, Nadja Zupan Hajna, Asma Al-Farraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Kahf Kharrat Najem Cave is a small cave in United Arab Emirates (UAE) that hosts a bat colony which is the source of guano deposits and peculiar centimeter-long yellowish stalactites. The mineralogy and geochemistry of these deposits were analyzed using powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopic microanalysis (EDX), scanning electron microscope (SEM), and stable isotope composition (δ13C and δ15N). Urea CO(NH2)2 was found to be the main compound of these stalactites, while allantoin C4H6N4O3 was found to be an accessory urea byproduct. This paper is the first to mention allantoin in a cave environment. We also identified rare sulfate minerals (aphthitalite, alunite) and phosphates that probably correspond to the archerite-biphosphammite series. The occurrence of these rare bat-related minerals is due to the extremely dry conditions in the cave, which accounts for the extraordinary preservation of the guano deposits and allows for the crystallization of these very soluble minerals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-92
JournalInternational Journal of Speleology
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2017

Keywords

  • Cave minerals
  • Allantoin
  • Bat guano
  • Bat urea
  • Kahf Kharrat Najem Cave
  • United Arab Emirates

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Bat urea-derived minerals in arid environment. First identification of allantoin, C4H6N4O3, in Kahf Kharrat Najem Cave, United Arab Emirates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this