Cockroache milk may be the new “super food”
Researchers believe that a protein crystal found in the intestines of cockroaches, more than 4 times the nutritional value of cow’s milk, could be the key to feeding the growing population of humans in the future.
Although most cockroaches don’t actually produce milk, “Diploptera punctate”has been shown to pump a type of “milk”, containing protein crystals to feed its young.
The researchers were impressed by the fact that one of these protein crystals contains more than 3 times the amount of energy found in an equivalent amount of buffalo milk (which is also higher in calories than regular cow’s milk).
It is clear that milking cockroaches is not the most feasible option, so an international team of scientists led by researchers from the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India, the gene series responsible for producing milk protein crystals, decided to see if they could somehow copy them in the laboratory.
“Crystals are like whole food – they contain proteins, fats and sugars,” sanchari banerjee, a member of the team, said in an interview with The Times of India. If you look at the protein sequence, it contains all the essential amino acids.”
As the protein is digested in milk, the crystal releases more protein at an equivalent rate for continued digestion. It is important to note that this dense protein source will certainly not be for those trying to lose weight, and may not even be required for most Western diets.
But for those struggling to get the required amount of calories per day, this may be a quick and easy way to get calories and nutrients.
Now, researchers hope to get the yeast to produce the crystal in much larger quantities, making it a little more efficient than extracting crystals from the gutof the cockroach.
The study was published in The International Consortium of Crystalology.