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Disgustingly Healthy Cockroach Milk

Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr

I’ve never been one to follow diet trends. Whenever I read about the newest ‘superfood’ I’m careful to take it with a grain of salt. That said, I never expected to hear that one of the healthiest foods we’ve ever discovered is….cockroach milk. Even typing that made me a little queasy. But, apparently it’s true.

Researchers have discovered that the female Pacific beetle cockroach extrudes a strange liquid substance to feed to its embryos. This liquid turns to crystal inside of the baby roaches and settles in their digestive tract for easy consumption. As far as we know the Pacific beetle cockroach is the only cockroach in the world that’s viviparous (which is to say, births live babies instead of laying eggs.) This liquid substance, called cockroach milk, is not really milk but serves a similar role and is incredibly nutrient dense. As far as sugar, protein, amino acids, and calories go the milk is the most nutritious substance on earth and has three times the energy of an equivalent mass of buffalo milk, and roughly four times that of cow’s milk.

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Actually milking the roaches takes some doing and involves placing special filter paper in the mother’s brood sac or even harvesting the crystals from the embryos stomachs.
Courtesy of Nathan Coussens

 

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Apparently the milk doesn’t even really have much of a taste.
Geoff L/Flickr

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Of course we’ll have to wait until it’s thoroughly tested for human consumption before it hits the market.
Hans Pama/Flickr

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The next step may be figuring out how to synthetically produce this milk without having to actually “milk” the cockroaches.
Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr

Milk from cockroaches, who would have guessed? I can only hope that this discovery doesn’t lead to scientists trying to figure out how to make cow sized cockroaches.

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