Cockroach Milk – The Next Superfood?

Cockroach Milk – The Next Superfood?


Hello, I am Francine Godoy, from Eatglobe’s NewsRoom, and will present you our news from today! Cockroach milk crystals have a record caloric value and contain all amino acids, lipids and sugars needed by humans. The Pacific beetle cockroach (Diploptera punctata) is one of the few cockroach species that gives birth to live young and produces dense crystalline milk for them. When scientists from India’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine analysed this milk and solved the structure of the milk crystals, they found that it contains all of the proteins, lipids and sugars needed by humans. In other words,  it is suited to become our next superfood. The road to this discovery was quite long and paved with many challenges. A young researcher at University of Iowa at the time, noticed some shiny crystals in the gut of a cockroach embryo he was examining. Making an x-ray,  found that the crystals were actually proteins. But, there was no available method to reveal the structure of the proteins. Then the team went as far as to write to NASA, who who was conducting experiments with growing protein crystals in space, with a proposal to send some cockroaches to space, in an attempt to learn more about the mysterious milk crystals. In 2013 they were successful, when Ramaswamy was offered to examine the cockroach crystals with a new equipment called synchotron that operates with x-ray free electron lasers. With the help of this device, the researchers found that the milk crystals actually consist of three different proteins, have all the essential amino acids, fats and sugars and are three times richer in calories than buffalo milk, which is considered to be the most energy-rich milk. There is no way to “milk” a cockroach, the only possibility is to produce the protein found in cockroach milk by bioengineering yeast. They still have to run tests, though, to find if the cockroach milk crystals are suitable for human consumption. So far, they were tasted only by one of Ramaswamy’s colleagues after loosing a bet. That is all for today, thanks for watching, and if you want to know more about our stories, please visit our website!

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