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Study: Cockroach milk crystals contain three times as much protein as buffalo milk
What comes to mind when you think about future so-called superfoods? You are probably thinking of an exotic berry from the jungle or a nutrient-rich seaweed from the sea. One of the last things you think of will be cockroach milk. Researchers have now found that this milk has a very high protein content and is almost immediately converted into energy by the body.
Scientists from the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in Bangalore found out that cockroach milk contains a lot of protein and is quickly converted by our body. Perhaps in the future, cockroach milk could help tackle food shortages in some countries. The doctors published the results of their study in the medical journal "IUCrJ".
Cockroaches' milk crystals contain very large amounts of nutrients
The cockroach called Diploptera punctata does not lay eggs like other types of cockroaches, but gives birth to live offspring. The boys are fed a milky substance. These so-called milk crystals contain, among other things, protein, sugar and fat, similar to the composition of breast milk in mammals. This cockroach milk is perhaps the most nutritious and high-calorie substance on earth, Indian scientists now claim.
Diploptera punctata provides her offspring with milk crystals
The Pacific cockroach species Diploptera punctata is able to give birth to live offspring. These are then supplied with food in the uterus of the cockroaches. This is quite unusual because most insects lay eggs, experts say. When the young are well developed and have a digestive tract, they receive a milk-like liquid from the mother. This is released from the maternal breast pocket via glands. The milk contains sugar, proteins, amino acids and fats, the researchers explain.
Milk crystals from cockroaches could help build muscle and regenerate
For example, if cockroach milk is compared to buffalo milk, it is clear that cockroach milk contains three times as much energy as buffalo milk, the scientists explain. Buffalo milk is one of the most protein-infused liquids in the animal world. Indian doctors add that the fat content of milk from water buffalo is twice that of cow's milk.
The milk crystals of the special cockroaches metabolize amazingly quickly. This effect is interesting, for example, for many athletes who need a quick replenishment of proteins after their training. Proteins are required for muscle building and muscle regeneration, among other things, the experts say. For people who do not want to use animal products, there is also the alternative that they get their proteins from legumes.
There are already some insect protein bars on the market
It is still unclear whether the cockroach milk is non-toxic to humans. But even if the milk is safe for humans, most people will not be thrilled to learn that their food contains the milk crystals from a cockroach, explains the author Subramanian Ramaswamy from the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Otherwise there is perhaps the possibility that a kind of artificial cockroach milk with the same properties is produced. There are currently some protein bars that contain protein from other insects, for example.
Professional strength athletes and bodybuilders would benefit greatly from cockroach milk
There may be a chance at some point that protein bars, powders, and beverages will be made with artificial cockroach milk, the authors say. Muscle building and workouts could be driven by cockroaches' synthetic milk crystals. For example, this could be particularly interesting for many strength athletes. So maybe in the future we will see commercials for protein products from insects on TV. It would also be quite possible that some professional strength athletes have manufacturers of insect products as sponsors, the doctors add. We will see what the future holds, perhaps in twenty years, cockroach milk products will be completely normal, according to the researchers. (as)