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Arch Microbiol. 1984 Jun;138(2):131-9.

Microbial aspects of the cockroach hindgut.


The cockroach hindgut has a complex, active microbiota, a large portion of which is associated with the chitinous gut wall. It provides a different environment from that of termites and other insects which are dependent on their hindgut microbiota for the digestion of cellulose. The pH of the midgut of Eublaberus posticus was not as high as it is in insects with a primarily cellulolytic nutrition. The hindgut of E. posticus was highly methanogenic, normal adults producing typically 10-25 mumol of methane per hour. The hindgut contained large amounts of the storage products polyphosphate and poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate. Dilution series on nonselective medium yielded 100 times more obligately anaerobic colonies than facultatively anaerobic colonies. The most common facultative isolates were Klebsiella oxytoca, Citrobacter freundii and Enterobacter agglomerans. Treatment of E. posticus with metronidazole caused a dedifferentiation of the different regions of the hindgut. One region of the hindgut is characterized by its visibly black color, a unique microbiota, and electron dense deposits in electron micrographs. Chemical determinations showed high concentrations of ferrous and sulfide ions in the region. X-ray microprobe analysis showed that some of the electron dense deposits consisted of iron, sulfur and lower amounts of copper, aluminium, and chromium associated with ruthenium red staining material. Spectra of other deposits revealed only silicon, which was not associated with ruthenium red.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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