Cockroach milk could be next green health food craze after scientists developed a method to make it into a protein supplement.
Scientists found that female Pacific beetle cockroaches feed their young a liquid crystal milk, which is extremely nutritious. This particular species of cockroach is native to Hawaii.
“The crystals are like a complete food – they have proteins, fats and sugars,” Dr. Sanchari Banerjee, the leading author of the study, told The Sun Star Monday. “Cockroaches are infamous for their ability to thrive in any condition surviving without food for a month, therefore it makes sense that they could produce a formula as protein-rich as this.”
Cockroach milk could offer an environmentalist alternative to cow milk. Cows emit enormous quantities of greenhouse gases and have other environmental impacts. Up to 37 percent of the world’s methane emissions are directly related to cattle. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has stated that cattle have a greater environmental impact than cars and trucks.
The scientists determined that cockroach milk is one of the most nutritious substances in the world; it’s three times richer in calories than buffalo milk. A taste test of the milk revealed that it had essentially no flavor.
“I discovered that these little embryos at a certain development were able to drink,” Dr. Barbara Stay, a professor emerita at the University of Iowa who was involved in the research, told National Public Radio Saturday. “What they were drinking was a liquid substance.”
Stay and other researchers discovered a method to “milk the cockroach,” by “[substituting] a filter paper in the brood sac for the embryos and you leave it there…you take it out and you get the milk.”
Researchers have even found a way to replicate the milk formulas in the lab in order to create protein supplements with the same properties as cockroach milk. The scientists plan to reproduce the milky substance using yeast.
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