Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fruit-eating Bats Eat Dirt To Detoxify Bad Parts Of Vegetables

Date:
April 25, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
"Don't eat the green parts of tomatoes, cut the green off the potatoes." Any child would know that eating these parts of vegetables is a bad idea. The reason behind this is that they contain secondary plant compounds which may have detrimental effects on the consumer. Each night, tropical fruit-eating bats ingest large amounts of secondary plant compounds with their food. This may become particularly problematic for pregnant or lactating bat mothers, since secondary plant compounds may damage the embryo or the juvenile. Biologists have now found evidence that fruit-eating bats take up large amounts of mineral rich water and clay from so-called mineral licks to detoxify the secondary plant compounds they ingest in fruits.

"Don't eat the green parts of tomatoes, cut the green off the potatoes." Any child would know that eating these parts of vegetables is a bad idea. The reason behind this is that they contain secondary plant compounds which may have detrimental effects on the consumer.

Related Articles


Each night, tropical fruit-eating bats ingest large amounts of secondary plant compounds with their food. This may become particularly problematic for pregnant or lactating bat mothers, since secondary plant compounds may damage the embryo or the juvenile. Now, a scientific study describes for the first time how female fruit-eating bats deal with this situation. In a new study researchers from the Berlin Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Boston University and Cornell University, found evidence that fruit-eating bats take up large amounts of mineral rich water and clay from so-called mineral licks to detoxify the secondary plant compounds they ingest in fruits.

Bats include more than 1200 species, represent the second most species rich mammalian group and are important seed dispersers in tropical rain forests. Dr. Christian Voigt and his colleagues captured pregnant and lactating bats at mineral licks in the Amazonian rainforest of Ecuador.

"At first glance it seemed that bats visit these sites for the same purpose as other animals such as large tapirs or birds, i.e. to meet their daily mineral requirements," Voigt describes their initial thoughts when they started the study. Bat mothers have particularly high mineral demands, because their juveniles cannot be weaned before they have reached almost adult size.

"To our amazement, we found fruits to be relatively rich in minerals compared to insects," states Dr. Voigt. In the present study, the researchers focused on one bat species that feeds on both fruits and insects.

The study demonstrates that although insects and not fruits had a low mineral content insufficient for bat reproduction, only bats with a fruit-dominated diet visited mineral licks. The researchers assume that female bats ingest more fruits than usual during pregnancy and lactation. Therefore, they are directly exposed to the detrimental effects of secondary plant compounds. Female bats seem to be able to compensate the toxicity of secondary plant compounds by consuming mineral rich clay or water. Local people in Africa and South America or Africa are also familiar with the detoxifying qualities of mineral-rich clay and consume it during pregnancy and lactation. It seems as if humans and bats have found a similar solution for a shared problem.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Voigt CC, Capps KA, Dechmann DKN, Michener RH, Kunz TH. Nutrition or Detoxification: Why Bats Visit Mineral Licks of the Amazonian Rainforest. PLoS ONE, 2008; 3 (4): e2011 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002011

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Fruit-eating Bats Eat Dirt To Detoxify Bad Parts Of Vegetables." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080422203305.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, April 25). Fruit-eating Bats Eat Dirt To Detoxify Bad Parts Of Vegetables. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080422203305.htm
Public Library of Science. "Fruit-eating Bats Eat Dirt To Detoxify Bad Parts Of Vegetables." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080422203305.htm (accessed February 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Satellite data shows the Amazon rainforest supports its lush flora with a little help from Sahara Desert dust. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fox With Horrifying Injury Rescued and Released Back Into the Wild

Fox With Horrifying Injury Rescued and Released Back Into the Wild

RightThisMinute (Feb. 25, 2015) This wounded fox knew what she was doing when she wandered into the yard of a nature photographer. The photographer got "Scamp" immediately in the hands of Wildlife Aid and she was released back into the wild in no time. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins