Diploptera punctata, aka the Pacific Beetle Cockroach, gives birth to its young and produces “cockroach milk” for them containing tiny protein crystals.
Researchers have found that this “cockroach milk” is one of the most nutritious and calorie-rich substances in existence. It’s a super- superfood. It packs fats, sugars, amino acids, and more than four times the nutrition of cow’s milk.
The same researchers also suggested that if the milk could be commercially harvested, it might make a “fantastic” protein supplement for humans.
The problem is that roaches don’t have, um, nipples. You can’t milk a roach, as such. Cockroach milk would probably have to come from bioengineered yeast, which is already used in the food industry. It’s often used in synthetic sweeteners, which the health-conscious generally avoid.
Researchers say the protein crystals in the “milk” are the most nutritious substance, per weight, yet discovered. We don’t yet know if the crystals are toxic to humans. So far, the number of tasters is exactly one. A scientist once tried some of the milk crystals from a sliced-open Pacific beetle cockroach as restitution for losing a drinking competition at a party!
He said it didn’t taste like anything special.
Researchers are currently working to sequence the genes so they can be reproduced in a lab—and the world can avoid the horror of a cockroach milking farm.
Siobhan O’Shea is a freelance writer. She writes about pretty much everything but especially likes to bring readers’ attention to new tech, marketing, human behavior, and other oddities.