Cockroach milk: The new superfood?

Cockroach crystals pack three times the energy of buffalo milk - the previous top contender for producing a protein with the most calories. Photo / Getty
Cockroach crystals pack three times the energy of buffalo milk - the previous top contender for producing a protein with the most calories. Photo / Getty

Think twice before killing the next cockroach you find in your kitchen - you might be giving up a "super" good meal.

In news that the world had been waiting for, a team of scientists at India's Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine discovered that cockroach milk is packed full of nutritional goodies.

While it doesn't have nipples, the Pacific beetle cockroach (the only kind that gives birth to live young) feeds its babies by lactating protein-dense crystals, which pack fats, sugars, amino acids.

According to research published in the journal for the International Union of Crystallography, on a pound for pound basis, the cockroach crystals pack three times the energy of buffalo milk which was the previous top contender for producing a protein with the most calories.

"It's time-release food," project lead Subramanian Ramaswamy said. "They can be a fantastic protein supplement."

Mr Ramaswamy is a biochemist at the Bangalore-based institute and told The Washington Post that one of his colleagues first tried the crystals after losing a bet stemming from a drinking game.

If you can suspend your gag reflex, apparently the taste isn't too bad.

"He said it doesn't taste like anything special," Ramaswamy said.

The crystals reportedly have a huge nutritional value but are extremely high in calories.

Researchers are currently working to sequence the genes so they can be reproduced in a lab - and presumably the world can avoid the horror of a cockroach milking farm.

It's early days in terms of the creepy (crawly) discovery, but researchers says it's possible that the sustenance intended for the offspring of a cockroach could end up being used in products such as milk and protein shakes.

Yum.

- news.com.au

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