Much ado is made about the metaphorical milk of human kindness, but in the not-so-distant future, we’re going to be hearing a hell of a lot more about the literal milk of cockroach persistence. After all, few things beat the refreshing tang of some freshly harvested cockroach milk earnestly enjoyed after a hard day’s work!
An international team of scientists from the US, Japan, Canada, France, and India are pleased to say that the milk protein crystals found in cockroaches are, in fact, a “fantastic” protein supplement.
The idea for the research began a decade ago when Nathan Coussens, a young researcher at the University of Iowa, noticed shiny crystals spilling out of a roach’s gut. He just had to learn more—and who could blame him? We were sold immediately upon hearing that roaches even have a gut, let alone crystals growing from said gut.
Now, ten years later, the researchers have succeeded in sequencing the genes of the milk protein crystals produced by Diploptera punctata. That’s the only known type of cockroach that actually gives birth to live young. The milk they produce is to dairy what a 5-Hour Energy is to a cup of tepid tea. A single crystal of the roach-y milk has three times the energy of an equal amount of buffalo milk. And you wonder why they will one day rule the world?
Sanchari Banerjee, one of the authors of the research, which is to be published this month in the International Union of Crystallography’s journal, explains: “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.”
In addition, the crystals are very stable and have great possibilities as a protein supplement; the scientists plan to produce the crystals in large quantities with the help of a yeast-based growing system.
That these proteins are found in a crystal form adds to their appeal, say the researchers.
As the protein is used up, more is released: “It’s time-released food,” Professor S. Ramaswamy explained. He added, “If you need food that is calorifically high, that is time released, and… complete, this is it.”
So rest assured, friends. We can now answer the following pressing question: When the bovine uprising is upon us—and don’t even begin to deny the plausibility of cowpocalypse—just what in the hell are we supposed to pour on our miserably dry cereal?
Forget almonds and soy—the future most certainly lies deep within the charming exoskeleton of the humble cockroach.