Even if we skipped breakfast in the morning, we might all be able to recollect childhood memories of our mothers running after us with a glass of milk. It's all well and good if it's from a cow, but what if we told you that milk from the midriff of a cockroach contains extremely high levels of protein?
In a piece published in IUCr, a journal of the International Union Of Crystallography, a team of international scientists have located a protein crystal present in the midgutt of cockroaches. It's apparently more than four times as nutritious than the milk of a cow or buffalo. This could be humankind's solution to feed the millions of hunger-stricken people around the world.
The discovery is quite fascinating as insects do not produce milk. Diploptera punctate is the only species of roaches to give birth to live young ones and they produce milk to feed their offsprings. A single protein crystal of this milk carries an amount of energy that's three times that of buffalo milk.
Thankfully, cockroaches will not be milked for the production of this milk. A team of international scientists, headed by the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India tried replicating the sequence of genes that produce the milk.
The crystals contain proteins, fats, sugars and all the essential amino acids. This makes it complete food. "It's time released food; if you need food that is calorically high, then that is time released food and that's complete. This is it," said Subramanian Ramaswamy, who led the project, in an interview with the Times Of India.
Experiments are under way trying to produce the crystal in much larger quantities using yeast. Might we add that sounds a lot less gross than having to extract it from the midgutt of roaches. All jokes aside, this could be the answer to the food shortages that our generation faces in various parts of the world. And if that's so, then cockroach milk it is.