Roach research has revealed that the “milk” a cockroach feeds its offspring contains highly nutritious protein crystals, which then may serve as the next big superfood.
Scientists have found that the Pacific Beetle Cockroach feeds its bug babies, a formula that remarkably rich in fat, sugar and protein.
The Pacific Beetle cockroach, unlike most cockroaches, doesn’t lay eggs. It gives birth to dozens of babies inserted in fleshy sacs and produces food to feed them — which is then the cockroach milk.
New research also indicates that the cockroach milk may soon be transformed into food supplement worthy of human consumption.
“Any liquid harvested from a cockroach is not true milk. At least not as we think of it,” said Becky Facer, director of school and educator programs at Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, reports CNN.
“The protein crystals are milk for the cockroach infant. It is important for its growth and development,” said Leonard Chavas, one of the scientists behind the research.
He explained that the crystals were at least three times the energy of an equivalent mass of buffalo milk, and of about four times the equivalent of a cow’s milk.
According to biochemist Subramanian Ramaswamy at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in Bangalore, India, whose a friend tried the crystals, said that there’s nothing like anything special about the taste.
When the scientist looked closely at the crystals inserted inside the cockroach embryo, they discovered that it was protein crystals.
“We didn’t believe these crystals were actually protein crystals.” he said.
The research published in the “International Union of Crystallography” suggests that the cockroach milk is the most nutritious, energy packed substance containing three times more energy than what was thought to be the most calorie and protein-rich milk from buffaloes.
“It’s a complete food … I could see them in protein drinks.” Ramaswamy said.
According to Ramaswamy, the cockroach milk would do well to replace dairy milk, which produces enormous amounts of greenhouse gases that comes from cows, and almond milk which requires a lot of water to grow the nuts.
“I don’t think anyone is going to like it if you tell them, ‘We extracted crystals from a cockroach and that is going to be food.’” he added.
Further research will be needed to ensure if the cockroach milk is even safe for human consumption.
“In the US there is a big thrust that all research has to be translational,” meaning it applies directly to human health. “This was just born out of curiosity.” Ramaswamy added.