Energy-rich cockroach `milk’ may someday be transformed into a food supplement worthy of human consumption, new research indicates. Scientists have found that the Pacific beetle cockroach feeds its bug babies a formula which is remarkably rich in protein, fat and sugar.
Any liquid harvested from a cockroach is not true milk. At least not as we think of it. The insect liquid takes the form of protein crystals in the guts of baby cockroaches.The protein crystals are milk for the cockroach infant.It is important for its growth and development.
He explained the crystals have three times the energy of an equivalent mass of buffalo milk, about four times that of cow milk.
The interest here was, what is it really made of ?
The scientist and his colleagues examined the species, also known as Diploptera punctata, which is the only species of cockroach known to be viviparous -able to bring forth live babies that have developed within the mother’s body , as opposed to developing outside in eggs.
Like other viviparous creatures, this species of roach nourishes its growing embryos with a protein-rich liquid secreted by its brood sac -the roach version of a uterus. Soon after the embryo ingests the liquid, protein crystals develop within its midgut. One of these crystals, which they discovered was a complete food. The energy content of the crystals was so high it helped infants grow much bigger than cockroach babies of other species. The team ultimately hopes to reverse bioengineer the liquid.