Pacific Beetle: Why you may be drinking cockroach milk soon

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As upsetting as it may sound,
cockroach milk might just be the flavour of the future as soon as it can
be transformed into an edible food supplement.
According to a report by the BBC, research by scientists has revealed that a certain species, the Pacific Beetle Cockroach, feeds its bug babies a formula which is remarkably rich in protein, fat and sugar.

The species, also known as Diploptera punctata,
nourishes its growing embryos with a nutrient-rich liquid secreted in
its uterus-like brood sac. Unlike most cockroaches that lay eggs, the
Pacific beetle gives birth to live offspring by the dozen and produces
food for them with the liquid formula.
The Pacific beetle cockroach has really nutritious milk
According to the research published in July in the journal, International Union of Crystallography, as soon as the embryo ingests the liquid, protein crystals develop within its midgut.
Leonard Chavas,
one of the scientists behind the research, explained that the crystals
have a whopping three times the energy of an equivalent mass of buffalo
milk and about four times the equivalent of cow’s milk.
He also said, “The protein crystals are milk for the cockroach infant. It is important for its growth and development.”
After
extracting one of these crystals to learn more about it and its
potential nutrition, Chavas and his colleagues determined that it was a
complete food. “It is what one would need: protein, essential amino acids, lipids and sugars,” he said.
He
further explained that the energy content is so high that it helps
infants within this unique species grow much bigger than cockroach
babies of other species.
He said that
before humans can start to reverse bioengineer cockroach milk,
researchers must first understand the exact biological and chemical
mechanisms underlying the process.
“For now, we are trying to understand how to control this phenomena in a much easier way, to bring it to mass production,” he said.
On tasting the cockroach milk himself, Chavas describes it as having “no particular taste”, but also imagines “a flavor with honey and crispy pieces.”
Subramanian Ramaswamy, a biochemist at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in Bangalore, India, also told The Washington Post in 2016 that his colleague who once ate a sprinkling of the crystals said, “It doesn’t taste like anything special.”
While
it’s currently inconceivable that cockroach milk will enjoy widespread
acceptance, you can’t bet against it appearing on shelves at your local
food stores in the future.

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