There’s this scene in Snowpiercer in which the protagonist learns that the food he's been given comes from cockroaches. He’s totally grossed out, and furious. And rightfully so. Roaches are gross.
But you know what’s more jarring to think about? Roaches lactate, and they give live birth!
In fact, if you find a particular breed of roaches, Diploptera punctata, that does these things, and then you crush that crunchy eco-skeleton, they actually secrete a crystal milk from their guts.
University of Iowa researcher, Nathan Coussens noticed this when he stepped on one ten years ago. He started studying the phenomenon, joining forces with universities and researchers across the world in partnership with inStem (Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine).
Their studies recently concluded that those crystals contained the complete amino acid structure needed for energy. Yum!
“It’s time-released food,” Ramaswamy S., a faculty member at the University of Iowa, explained on inStem’s website, adding, “These crystals have three times the calorific content of buffalo milk.”
The group's next step is to grow large quantities of these proteins using a yeast-based growing system.
Given all the health and envorinmental issues associated with dary cows, combined with the simple fact that cockroaches breed easily, the milk may well turn out to be a viable protein supplement.
No word yet on how it is in coffee but we're counting the days till we can order our grande caramel macchiato with extra roach foam.