species: Pacific Beetle Cockroach

Dairy Protein Digestion: Life in the Slow Lane

Dairy Protein Digestion: Life in the Slow Lane

Foods traveling from the mouth to the intestines are a bit like drivers off to work on a four-lane interstate. Some foods get in the fast lane and are quickly digested, whereas others stay in the slow lane, taking longer to reach their final destination. Why some foods are speed demons and others Sunday drivers depends on the particular properties of the nutrients in the foods. For example, proteins take longer to break down in the stomach than do carbohydrates, and milk contains some of the slowest digesting proteins of all. What makes milk proteins such slow pokes? Read More...

Cockroach Mothers Produce Nutrient-Dense Milk Crystals

Cockroach Mothers Produce Nutrient-Dense Milk Crystals

A new study on cockroach milk attracted a lot of attention from popular news outlets last month. And who can blame them? The idea of a milk-like substance coming from an insect is a pretty remarkable finding. But a cockroach making milk is, surprisingly, not news; scientists have known about cockroach milk for more than 40 years. The recent study from Banerjee and colleagues generated so much “buzz” because they found that cockroach mothers, despite their diminutive size, produce a complete nutrient for their offspring that is higher in energy than milks from most mammals. Using cutting edge X-ray diffraction techniques to take the closest look to date at the crystal structure of cockroach milk, the international team of researchers reported that cockroach embryos dine on a wide variety of amino acids, essential long-chain fatty acids, and carbohydrates. Cockroach milk, it seems, is more than just a drink; it is a highly nutritious meal. But if the thought of adding cockroach milk crystals to your smoothie is completely unappealing, don’t fret. Thankfully, many of the features that make cockroach milk proteins so remarkable are also found in the milk of other mammals, including those sold in your grocery store dairy case. Read More...