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Cockroach Superpower No. 42: They Don’t Need to Pee

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"To survive in hostile environments, cockroaches rely on their own vermin: Blattabacterium, a microbe that hitched a ride inside roaches 140 million years ago, and hasn’t left since.

Researchers who sequenced the Blattabacterium genome have found that it converts waste into molecules necessary for a roach to survive. Every cockroach is a testimony to the power of recycling — thanks to their microbes, they don’t even need to pee.

“Blattabacterium can produce all of the essential amino acids, various vitamins, and other required compounds from a limited palette of metabolic substrates,” write entomologists in a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers have known that cockroaches need the microbes to survive: Kill Blattabacterium with antibiotics, and the insects die. They also knew that roaches store excess nitrogen — one of life’s essential elements, needed to make proteins, amino acids and DNA — inside their bodies, in tiny deposits of uric acid. But researchers didn’t know exactly what became of the uric acid after it was stored, or precisely what Blattobacterium did."

Click on the "source" link above to read the entire story via Wired Science
 
 

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