Cockroach Milk And You: How One Study Has Made Thousands Of People Go “Ewww.”
In this age of scientific freedom, massive funding, and seeming daily breakthroughs, it is hard to pass a single day without encountering some study or another purporting to have the next big cure for something or everything.
But on the other hand, there are studies, and then there are studies.
One such study recently touted on CNN as potentially being the next big “superfood” has been dubbed cockroach milk.
You read that right. Cockroach milk.
Of course with a name like that it is bound to grab the attention–if not turn the stomachs–many a morning newspaper reader. It seems that a research group has found that the food a certain type of cockroach provides for its young is a sort of formula that is nutritionally very rich, loaded with protein, fat and sugar.
And since those are the building blocks upon which the diets of all animals are based, there’s no reason why such a formulation–theoretically at least–could be consumed by humans or any other animal for that matter.
But beneath the breathless headlines were a couple of obstacles to starting up your very own cockroach milk bottling concern and making your first million off of starry-eyed hipsters shopping at Whole Foods.
For one thing, the researchers from India’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine found that the Pacific Beetle Cockroach–which is the only species of roach that we know of that delivers live babies instead of laying eggs–gives its embryos a protein-rich liquid that is secreted through the insect’s uterus.
However, the embryo, upon ingesting the liquid converts it into protein crystals in its gut and then uses these for nourishment. And while these crystals are reported to have three times the caloric energy of dairy milk, it is not feasible for humans to directly consume them.
For one thing, extracting the crystals from tiny, embryonic bugs would prove tricky, to say the least. Given that, the researchers were hopeful that the study could be a jumping-off point for others to explore ways of engineering a synthetic form of the roach milk-crystals that would be fit for human consumption.
And let’s face it: marketing something called roach milk is just going to be a bit of a challenge, to say the least.
Thankfully, we’re not there yet.