In this world, there many types of foods, some less appealing than others but the newest one cockroach milk, might be most disgusting food yet. In most parts of the world, the cockroach is reviled as nothing more than a pest. Scientists are now trying to contest that preconception by claiming that its milk is a superfood.
A number of international researchers led by scientists from the Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in Bangalore, India have discovered that the substance produced by one particular type of cockroach, Diploptera punctata, has quite a few amazing properties.
This cockroach, more commonly known as the Pacific beetle, is part of the only species that can give birth. In order to feed the cockroach embryos while they’re developing, the mother is able to produce protein crystals similar to those found in normal cow’s milk. Scientists, being constantly curious, decided that instead of killing the cockroach, they should analyze the substance in a lab in order to better understand its properties.
According to a a member of the research team, Sanchari Banerjee:
“The crystals are like a complete food – they have proteins, fats, and sugars. If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids.”
The cockroach milk has three times the energy of dairy milk, being a dense source of nutrients and calories, and it’s time released as well. While the protein in the milk is digested, the crystal releases more protein at the same rate in order to continue the digestion.
Thanks to its properties, the scientists believe it can be a way to solve the current food crisis, which is becoming exceedingly worse at the current rate of population growth. For this purpose, they decided to isolate the sequence of genes responsible for producing the milk protein crystals and see if they can replicate them in the lab. They were successful and are now trying to produce higher quantities of milk using yeast.
In order for the entire population of the world to be fed in the future, a food revolution is required, and this might just be it. But as amazing as the substance is, it still came originally from cockroaches which are detested by many people. Hopefully, if it will ever reach supermarket shelves, people will adhere to the sausage principle: if you like something, never find out how it was made.
The study was published in the International Union of Crystallography‘s journal.
Image source: Wikimedia