Solute concentrations across semi-permeable membranes influence the movement of water and solutes across the membrane. Osmoregulation and osmotic balance are important bodily functions, resulting in water and salt balance. Osmolarity is measured in units of milliequivalents or milliosmoles, both of which take into consideration the number of solute particles and the charge on them. Some organisms are osmoconformers in that they are isotonic with their environment. The kidneys are the main osmoregulatory organs in mammalian systems; they function to filter blood and maintain the osmolarity of body fluids. Many systems have evolved for excreting wastes that are simpler than the kidney and urinary systems of vertebrate animals. The simplest system is that of contractile vacuoles present in microorganisms. Flame cells and nephridia in worms perform excretory functions and maintain osmotic balance. Some insects have evolved Malpighian tubules to excrete wastes and maintain osmotic balance.
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