Can You Stomach This? Researchers Are Creating Bread Made With Cockroaches That 'Tastes Like Peanuts'

Posted by Sughra Hafeez in Science and Technology On 12th June 2018

Instead of chasing away pesky cockroaches from your food, this time, researchers want you to ADD them to your food - yes, that's right.

Cockroaches: A source of inspiration.

Cockroaches are often associated with dirty kitchens and grimy bathrooms, But rather than finding them repulsive, scientists see them as a source of inspiration.

Control cockroaches

In June students from Shanghai, Jiao Tong University demonstrated how they could control cockroaches with their minds. Translating human brain waves into electrical impulses, they directed a cockroach attached to a receiver down differently shaped tunnels - simply by thinking about it.

cockroach powder

Today, hospitals in parts of China use a cream made from powdered cockroaches to treat burns and a cockroach syrup is sometimes given to patients to alleviate the symptoms of gastroenteritis.

High protein snack

The insects can also be eaten - in China, the American cockroach is the preferred delicacy. The researchers at the Federal University of Rio Grande (FURG) have proposed adding cockroaches into bread for a high protein snack.

How do the cockroaches taste?

According to Myrian Melado, a researcher at the Federal University of Rio Grande: "They remind us of ches[t]nut or peanut. They’re really good and tasty, and (their presence) does not affect the flavor of the bread."

Nauphoeta cinerea

Melado is referring, of course, to the key ingredient in the bread that makes it so special: the Nauphoeta cinerea, commonly known as the lobster cockroach.

Lobster roaches are typically bred in captivity and also kept as - gulp - pets.

"A lot of care is put into what they eat, (as) they only eat fruits and vegetables," said Ms. Lauren Mengon from Federal University of Rio Grande.

The scientists of FURG sample some freshly-made cockroach bread.

Making cockroaches the world’s major source of protein could have a major impact on climate change.

Melado continued:

"Insects don’t create waste. If we think of the amount of water we need to breed an insect, compared to the amount of it needed for cattle breeding, it’s infinitely less."

Cockroach bread is also easy to produce.

Melado said: "They take less time to grow, [as] the Cinerea cockroach we use takes an overall of 75 days from the first stage until the last,"

FAO said in a statement:

"On average, insects can convert 2kgs (4.4lb) of feed into 1kg of insect mass, whereas cattle require 8kg of feed to produce 1kg of body weight gain."

Business project

The researchers hope to turn their study into a business project, being able one day to produce bread, energy bars and many other cockroach flour-based foods.

Cockroaches may save humanity.

Ms. Myrian Melado, Federal University of Rio Grande researcher, said: "Insects don't create waste. If we think of the amount of water we need to breed an insect, compared to the amount of it needed for cattle breeding, it's infinitely less."

Watch how cockroach bread is made.

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