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
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.