Scientists Say In The Future, Cockroach Milk Would Be Super Food! Yikes!

In news that might shock those grossed out by large insects, it turns out that drinking cockroach milk might just solve world hunger. Who would have thought?

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Researchers from the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India claim that they have found the solution to world hunger in the small intestine of a specific species of cockroach known for their ability to produce milk rich in protein. They sequenced the protein crystal from the midgut of roaches, which they think to be key to the nutritious milk the cockroaches produce.

Forgive us for not associating cockroaches with nutritious milk, but it turns out that roach milk, or at least the protein it contains, might just be the thing we need to end world hunger. And in case you’re wondering, no, not all cockroaches produce milk, but one particular species, the Diploptera punctata, does. The species is the only known cockroach that gives birth to live young and one of few that lactates milk rich in the protein crystals identified by the scientists.

If you’re still scratching your head, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. It’s not every day you hear of a milk-producing insect, and even the scientists that worked on the project find it quite fascinating. But what fascinated the researchers even more is the nutritional value of the protein crystals they found. The energy contained in the cockroach’s milk has four times the energy value the buffalo milk does.

It’s an incredible find, but milking a cockroach doesn’t seem feasible with the current technology, not to mention it’s quite gross, so the researchers that identified the protein decided to sequence the genes responsible for producing the protein crystals contained in the milk in order to try and replicate them in lab conditions. “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,” said Sanchari Banerjee a scientist currently working on the project.

“It’s time-released food,” said project leader Subramanian Ramaswamy. “if you need food that is calorifically high, that is time released and food that is complete. This is it.” Although the calories and nutrients can be a fantastic protein supplement, it’s worth noting that this is in no way a magical weight loss tool. In fact, the effects of the protein are the complete opposite of what’s required in most modern diets. The milk is for those that look to increase their daily calorie intake without eating tons of food.

“They’re very stable. They can be a fantastic protein supplement,” said Ramaswamy. Now that they have sequenced the genes responsible for the creation of the protein, they are hoping to produce it in large quantities. Although they have yet to figure out a more efficient process, this discovery is the first step in what will hopefully be a revolutionary concept.