Have you ever thought of eating cockroaches? How about drinking cockroach milk? If you’re negative to both options, you might want to hear from these scientists, who said that these filthy critters could become human’s superfood in the future.
Not only that, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan has found a special protein in the midgut of roaches or Diploptera punctata. The whitish fluid, according to the scientists, is four times more nutritious than cow’s milk.
Types of Cockroaches
According to the study, published in the scientific journal IUCrJ, there are basically three types of cockroaches based on their mode of reproduction: oviparous, ovoviviparous, and viviparous.
The D. punctata belongs to the viviparous type, an evolutionary-advanced species of cockroaches relative to other types. Unlike other species of cockroaches, the D. punctata cockroaches produce eggs that have little yolk, but the majority of the nourishment comes from the mother through a brood sac wall.
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By carefully studying the larval development of the D. punctata, the researchers found that the same species of cockroach are capable of storing a protein-rich liquid the mother secretes to its developing offspring.
“This milk provides a 60-fold whole-body increase in protein during embryonic development. Soon after ingestion of the liquid milk, protein crystals develop within the embryo. The crystals were shown to contain milk glycoproteins, although less glycosylated than at the time of secretion from the brood sac,” an excerpt of the study reads.
According to the researchers, the ability of D. punctata to produce, store, and secrete milk-like substance is one of the evidences of its evolutionary advancement relative to other types of cockroaches.
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According to Penn State College of Agricultural Science, cockroaches are the most common insects, which have been in existence for the past 300 million years, as evidenced by fossil findings. There are at least 55 different species of cockroaches that can be found all over the world.
In the United States, the most common species of cockroach is the American Cockroaches (Periplaneta americana). The P. americana is most common in the state of Pennsylvania and can grow up to half an inch.