September 20, 2018

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Yuck: Cockroach milk is full of protein – New Research

Yuck: Cockroach milk is full of protein – New Research

A little cockroach milk with those cookies? Chock full of protein, the insect milk may someday be transformed into a food supplement worthy of human consumption, new research indicates. Scientists have found that the Pacific Beetle Cockroach feeds its bug babies a formula which is remarkably rich in protein, fat and sugar.

Don’t expect to find it next to the regular milk in the dairy section, however, at least not for now. “Any liquid harvested from a cockroach is not true milk. At least not as we think of it,” said Becky Facer, director of school and educator programs at Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta.

Most people would agree. After all, the insect liquid takes the form of protein crystals in the guts of baby cockroaches. “The protein crystals are milk for the cockroach infant. It is important for its growth and development,” said Leonard Chavas, one of the scientists behind the research. He explained the crystals have a whopping three times the energy of an equivalent mass of buffalo milk, about four times the equivalent of cow’s milk.

“The interest here was, what is it really made of?” said Chavas, one of the authors of the research, published in July in the journal International Union of Crystallography. Chavas and his colleagues examined the species, also known as Diploptera punctata, which is the only species of cockroach known to be viviparous — able to bring forth live babies that have developed within the mother’s body, instead of the mother laying eggs to develop outside her body. Read more

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