Could Cockroach Milk Be the Next Big Thing?

Connor Gard, Copy Editor

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By Connor Gard

With the population growing and the bees dwindling, a new bug may step up to the plate to provide us sustenance.

The Pacific beetle cockroach is the only roach that gives birth to live young, and also produces a food source for them as well.

The “food” is a yellow liquid, excreted from the mother beetle’s brood sack, for the young beetles to consume.  Scientists can harvest, from the embryonic beetles, the now processed milk in the form of protein crystals in a milk-like liquid.  These embryonic beetles are cut open, and through these cuts, the rich milk flows through.  The milk can also be retrieved in a method similar to milking a cow by putting filtration paper in place of the embryos, which the milk is now put through and collected, for removal and collection later.

The milk has taken over as one of the most nutritious foods, as it is about three times richer than buffalo milk in terms of both calories and proteins in the substance itself.  A researcher who tasted the roach milk described that it has almost no flavor.  

Roach milk could possibly be a food we see in the future, but for the time being, you probably won’t see any of it.  The researchers at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicines in Bangalore, India, are not certain if it is completely safe for human consumption yet and are unsure of its production due to the difficulty of milking these roaches.  Alongside the difficulties of milking these roaches on such a large scale, the scientists at the institute are researching a way to genetically alter yeast to provide the same nutritional value as the milk.  

However, if the work is put forth in a large enough scale, we could be seeing a rise in its production, increased means of efficiency, as well as the sale of a new nutritious substance.