While the sight of cockroaches is abhorrent for most people, researchers have found that cockroach milk is potently more nutritious than cow’s milk, and may soon be transformed into a food supplement worthy of human consumption.
According to the Indian scientists from the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, the cockroach milk is four times as nutritious as cow’s milk and has a unique form of protein.
The unconventional dairy product comes from the Pacific beetle cockroach, the only type of species that does not lay eggs but instead gives birth to live young.
The species, which lives along Asia’s Pacific rim, secretes a type of milk that contains protein crystals to feed its embryos before they are born, the scientists reveal. Sanchari Banerjee, the study’s lead author, said in the report:
“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.”
Apart from these mind-blowing benefits, the researchers also say the protein also releases energy slowly over a long period of time, making it a crucial aid in nutrition.
Another scientist, Professor Ramaswamy said:
“It’s time-released food. If you need food that is calorifically high, that is time released and food that is complete. This is it.”
Despite the ground-breaking discovery, it may still take a while before cockroach milk supplements begin rolling out of stores, as researchers have not yet determined whether the crystals are toxic to humans or not.
The team now plans to use a yeast system to produce more crystals to possibly be used as protein supplements in the future.
However, this is not the first time scientists have advocated consuming creepy crawlers. A similar study from Oxford University last year found that consuming insects gives more protein than equivalent amounts of red meat.