Hate it or love it, cockroaches are those weird creepy crawlies that have come to share our homes with us. Their choice place of abode are those hidden, dark and dank places.
Going by the way some countries are stockpiling their nuclear weapons, cockroaches may be that organism that will soon inhabit the earth owing to its ability to withstand up to 2000 times the amount of radiation that humans could survive.
Some fried insect from a Cambodia market , from Pixabay CC0 Licenced
The self-healing DNA of the roaches plays a role in the process; it heals any damaged DNA which occurs as a result of radiation.
People have been known to have a severe phobia for cockroaches. The phobia is known as Katsaridaphobia. A teacher in this article is reported to have quit her job as a result of her students shouting the word, "cockroach" which cause her great fear and distress. Even though there are 4500 species of cockroaches, only less than 1% (30) of it are taken to be pests.
The cockroach is one hardy animal. It is the definition of hard to kill as it can survive headless for weeks. Their circulatory system is one that requires less pressure, so even when they lose their heads, they manage to breathe through tiny holes in their body.
But this article is not here to solely look into their hardy nature, but to look at some good cockroaches may do to humanity. Yes, you read that word (good) right.
A Lucrative Bug
A Chinese firm already made $684 million (4.3 billion yuan) through sales of medicinal potion. The Gooddoctor Pharmaceutical Group of Chengdu, Sichuan is the name of the pharmaceutical firm that had, through the use of AI that monitors everything from genetic mutation, environment and tracks their food consumption and maturity date, enabled them to grow and harvest up to 6 billion cockroaches in a year.
The potion they make is said to cure a lot of ailments ranging from gastric problems to respiratory illnesses. Though the claims are unverified and some believe the drugs are "mostly cockroaches". If you are not the squeamish type, you can click on this link and enjoy the view of a giant cockroach farm and people eating cockroaches in China.
Milk , from Pixabay CC0 Licenced
But there is more verifiable news of the usefulness of the cockroach out there, a team of scientists did further research on an interesting phenomenon amongst cockroaches in 2016. The researchers were from different countries namely the USA, Japan, India, Canada, and France. The research was on the analysis of the cockroach's pale yellow crystalline milk. The findings, published in this journal shows that the milk is in line with one of the most nutritious food on Earth. The milk was so good it overtook the buffalo milk, the milk known for it's higher calorie and protein- packing contents than the cow's milk.
Some Roach Affair
There are three species of cockroaches based on their reproduction. They are the oviparous, the ovoviviparous, and the viviparous.
The oviparous lays eggs and the young hatch outside of their mother's body.
The other two species, ovoviviparous and viviparous give birth to their young, with the young similarly developing in the uterus as most mammals.
Madagascar hissing cockroach, Gromphadorhina portentosa a ovoviviparous cockroach giving birth to its young. By Matt Reinbold [CC BY-SA 2.0] , from Flickr Commons Licenced
Only a few of cockroaches give birth to their young. An example of such insect is the Pacific Beetle Cockroach or diploptera punctata, a viviparous cockroach. It produces a high dense crystalline milk for nursing its young.
The milk contains 45% protein, 25% carbohydrates, between 16 to 22% lipid, and 5% amino acids. The brood sacs stores this milk and extraction of it involves opening the gut of the cockroach.
Anyone up for some
Chocolate Cockroach Milk?
One scientist, Leonard Chavez, has his eye on milking (pun intended) this saga, and if he is to have his way, plans to have the Pacific Beetle Cockroach milk crystals as a supplement. It will join the queue of the superfood available out there.
Milking the cockroach is something I know many will be interested to know how they would pull it off.
But the scientists are a step ahead, they know individually milking a cockroach may be hard or even impossible, they s=decided to unravel the genetic makeup responsible for the production of the crystalline milk and replicate it in the laboratory.
The scientist is looking at bioengineered yeast, a method in use in the food industry for the production of food ingredients such as the synthetic sweeteners such as Cargill's Eversweet sweeteners.
Since the milk industry is under enormous pressure from the environmental advocacy group for its nasty greenhouse gas emission, will the roaches save us?
How will it look at a menu in an exclusive restaurant that has the cockroach milk superfood? Maybe, Roach Milk available, 3x the nutritional value of the cow's milk without the greenhouse gas emissions :)
But until then, the scientists will still have to work out if such is safe for human consumption by checking on its toxicity. If that is ok, will you be open to trying roach milk?
- Secret of radiation-proof bugs proposed
- Drink up: Cockroach milk is the protein drink you didn't know you've been missing
- Cockroach Milk: Yes. You Read That Right
- Journal: Structure of a heterogeneous, glycosylated, lipid-bound, in vivo-grown protein crystal at atomic resolution from the viviparous cockroach Diploptera punctata