In a research study published by the IUCrJ, journal of the International Union of Crystallography, it was discovered that cockroach milk can be the next superfood.
Insect milk could be the perfect non-dairy substitute for cow’s milk. It could also be the new superfood that will feed the growing population in the future.
However, not all cockroaches produce milk, but Diploptera punctate or the Pacific Beetle cockroach, the only cockroach known to give birth to live young, has been discovered to release the milk that contains protein crystals to feed its offspring.
It was then found out that a single crystal contains more than three times the amount of calories found in buffalo’s milk.
“A single crystal [of cockroach milk] is estimated to contain more than three times the energy of an equivalent mass of dairy milk,” the scientists claim.
Yet, milking cockroaches is not as easy as milking cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep, and other dairy animals. An alternative is to replicate the milk in the lab through stem cell technology.
The Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India decided to try replicating it by sequencing the genes that are responsible for producing the milk protein crystals.
“The crystals are like a complete food—they have proteins, fats, and sugars. If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids,” Sanchari Banerjee, one member of the research team said during an interview.
The milk protein crystals are also time-released, wherein the protein in the milk is consumed, the crystals will produce more protein at a certain rate for continued digestion.
But, the researchers clarify that this superfood is not for people who try to lose weight and those who have been eating a lot of calories already. Instead, this is for those who struggle to meet the required calories per day.
Since they already have the gene sequence, the researchers are now hoping to find a way to produce protein crystals in mass quantities.
Dairy-free products, like insect milk, which are nutrient-filled continue to gain popularity in the past years.