Imagine having a little cockroach milk with your cereals or how about choco cockroach milkshake? High in protein, this insect milk is the next superfood.
A team of scientists has just sequenced a protein crystal in the midgut of cockroaches because cockroach milk is said to be more than four times as nutritious as cow’s milk. According to researchers, this could be the key to feeding our growing population in the future.
Pacific beetle cockroach, who are the only type of the species that give birth to live offspring, can only produce this milk.
What is Diploptera punctate?
Since cockroaches aren’t mammals and cannot produce their own food, Diploptera punctate, is not “true” milk but more like a formula that is secreted by cockroaches to feed their kids. The so-called “milk” contains protein crystals that feed the cockroach embryos before they are born.
Soon after the embryo ingests the liquid, protein crystals develop within its midgut.
Apart from flying and scaring the bejesus out of us, with the help of this protein-rich formula, these little insects also have the ability to survive in any condition without food for a month. The crystals are especially unique as they release protein at the same rate as the solution is being used up when digested.
According to Sanchari Banjeree, one of the authors of the research paper: “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.” In fact, there is three times the amount of energy found in the same amount of buffalo milk (which is also higher in calories than dairy milk) as in a single protein crystal.
However milking one cockroach at a time is not what we usually call a time-friendly task. The researchers at the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, who have led the study, have found a way to replicate the crystal formulas in the lab in order to possibly create protein supplements with the same properties.
Now since the initial sequence is already produced, they are hoping to use yeast and produce the crystals in larger quantities.
Image Source: Google Images
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