Maybe, if you don’t tell people what it is.

Scientists think cockroach milk could be the superfood of the future

An international team of scientists has just sequenced a protein crystal located in the midgut of cockroaches. The reason?

It’s more than four times as nutritious as cow’s milk and, the researchers think it could be the key to feeding our growing population in the future.

Although most cockroaches don’t actually produce milk, Diploptera punctate, which is the only known cockroach to give birth to live young, has been shown to pump out a type of ‘milk’ containing protein crystals to feed its babies.

The fact that an insect produces milk is pretty fascinating – but what fascinated researchers is the fact that a single one of these protein crystals contains more than three times the amount of energy found in an equivalent amount of buffalo milk (which is also higher in calories then dairy milk).

Clearly milking a cockroach isn’t the most feasible option, so an international team of scientists headed by researchers from the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India decided to sequence the genes responsible for producing the milk protein crystals to see if they could somehow replicate them in the lab.

“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,” said Sanchari Banerjee, one of the team, in an interview with the Times of India.

Cockroaches are widely despised. They’re attracted to filth. They frighten people, even give them nightmares.

But for a team of scientists at Texas A&M University, the roach is a hero: the first animal that humans might successfully transform into a robot, a hybrid of insect and machine that we can send anywhere to be our eyes and ears.

Professor S. Bradley Vinson is an entomologist — an insect expert. Professor Hong Liang is a mechanical engineer. The point of their work is to build the perfect cockroach cyborg: an animal that can crawl into tiny holes and around jagged edges with recording equipment, for surveillance, for example. Or, if there’s an earthquake and a building crashes, Liang says, deploy them to the second floor for search and rescue, “so when they reach there, they can work as a vehicle. If they can carry any sensors, cameras, they can collect information for us.”

What Cockroaches With Backpacks Can Do. Ah-mazing

GIF: Courtesy of Texas A&M Engineering

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