Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: This news might sound weird, but scientists seemed to have found the next 'superfood', and that too from none other than cockroaches – undesirable pests that can infest homes, cause allergies and trigger asthma attacks, especially in children.
The research was carried out by a team of scientists from Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) in Bangalore, India.
According to the researchers, the milk protein crystal found in the guts of a species called Diploptera punctata is more than three times the energy of an equivalent mass of dairy (buffalo) milk.
It found that the milk contains all of the essential amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids and the protein-dense crystals.
According to Subramanian Ramaswamy, who led the research, the milk crystals can be a fantastic protein supplement.
"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 main authors of the paper published in July in the journal from the International Union of Crystallography.
While majority of cockroach species do not produce milk, the Pacific beetle cockroach (Diploptera punctata) has live births and then feeds its young a milky substance that crystallizes within the stomach.
The team now plans to use a yeast system to produce these crystals en masse that could be used as protein supplement in the future.