Can you see yourself downing a cold refreshing health drink that leaves a white roach mustache on your upper lip? Get used to it because an international team of researchers has turned milk protein from the only known species of cockroach that gives birth to live baby roaches into a potent energy drink. Is a roach latte far behind?
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.
That’s the sales pitch for roach milk from Sanchari Banerjee, co-author of new paper in the International Union of Crystallography journal. He’s the team member with tiny hands who sat on a miniature stool and milked thousands of roaches for the study. Just kidding. He knew from research done ten years ago by Nathan Coussens at the University of Iowa that milk crystals pour out of the gut of a mama Diploptera punctata – better known as the Pacific beetle cockroach and the world’s only viviparous cockroach (word of the day – viviparious means “bears live young”).
Banerjee was part of a team of scientists from the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) in Bengaluru, India. They sequenced the genes of the roach milk crystals and found them to have three times the caloric food energy of buffalo dairy milk. Researcher Subramanian Ramaswamy points out that the roach crystal energy has the added benefit of being time-released. Here’s a cautionary note: Ramaswamy doesn’t say how it tastes.
How many roaches do you need to milk for a quart of All-Day Chocolate Cockroach Cooler (patent pending)? Fortunately, the gene sequencing will allow labs to growth the crystals using yeast. Can they add some hops and make roach beer?
The study doesn’t say when roach milk, roach protein powder or roach energy drinks will be available or if can be turned into roach cheese, butter or ice cream. But you know a crowd-funding program can’t be far off. We might as well get used to drinking it now … before roaches find out that human milk is a cockroach energy drink.