Dis­gust­ing cock­roach might be an­swer to waste man­age­ment, health mat­ters

Moose Jaw - - News - By Ron Wal­ter For Moose Jaw Ex­press Ron Wal­ter can be reached at ron­[email protected]­

Don’t be sur­prised within the next 10 years if an odi­ous pest be­comes a so­lu­tion to waste man­age­ment is­sues and med­i­cal con­cerns.

The lowly ubiq­ui­tous cock­roach has started to solve dis­posal of waste from food in China by clean­ing up waste food from res­tau­rants and food pro­ces­sors.

The lit­tle in­sects will eat up ev­ery­thing, leav­ing no waste be­hind, sav­ing the cost of waste dis­posal and re­duc­ing land­fill needs.

Imag­ine if ev­ery food place in Moose Jaw had a cock­roach farm out back dis­pos­ing of waste. Think of the cost sav­ing to busi­ness and the lo­cal dump. Ed­u­cat­ing the cus­tomers to the idea will be a chal­lenge. Most cus­tomers of eat­ing es­tab­lish­ments and gro­cery out­lets are aghast at the thought of cock­roaches be­ing around.

The cock­roach, as­so­ci­ated with filth, poor hy­giene, low stan­dards of clean­li­ness, re­pels us. Ex­cept for these traits most species of cock­roach aren’t harm­ful. Aside from their po­ten­tial in man­age­ment of food wastes, the cock­roach has tremen­dous po­ten­tial for health care. An ar­ti­cle in the Daily Me­dia Trust quoted Li Sheng, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of In­sect Tech­nol­ogy at South China Nor­mal Univer­sity in Guangzhou City, about the health ben­e­fits of cock­roaches.

Li says the Amer­i­can cock­roach has up to 522 taste re­cep­tors with 329 that are bit­ter re­cep­tors. “They eat al­most any­thing. They can do self-detox­i­fi­ca­tion if they eat the wrong food.”

What in­ter­ested re­searchers in cock­roaches is the abil­ity to live in toxic places like sewage dumps and thrive. The ques­tions was: How do in­sects sur­vive in un­hy­gienic places?

Sci­en­tists at Not­ting­ham Univer­sity in the United King­dom dis­cov­ered chem­i­cal com­pounds in the cock­roach brain that can kill E.coli and MSRA — strains of an­tibi­otic re­sis­tant bac­te­ria.

Some kinds of E.coli can cause dev­as­tat­ing dam­age to the kid­neys, even menin­gi­tis. MSRA is a real con­cern in hos­pi­tals caus­ing skin in­fec­tions.

The an­tibi­otic re­sis­tant bac­te­ria are one rea­son why the Moose Jaw Union Hos­pi­tal was de­mol­ished in­stead of be­ing con­verted into an al­ter­nate use. Au­thor­i­ties feared an­tibi­otic re­sis­tant bac­te­ria may still live af­ter a con­ver­sion to a new use.

Ground up cock­roach heads could be use­ful in pre­vent­ing an­tibi­otic re­sis­tant bac­te­ria in hos­pi­tal pa­tients — kind of like a new cold liver oil.

If a cock­roach is be­headed, Li Sheng said, it can live for days. If the an­ten­nae or legs are re­moved it can re­cover in a few days. This trait to heal wounds could help hu­mans re­cover from wounds if the se­cret is un­locked by ge­netic de­cod­ing.

The cock­roach has been used in tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine for years and modern Chi­nese clin­ics have used ex­tracts for 30 years, said Li.

One Chi­nese farmer has a farm with six bil­lion cock­roaches for med­i­cal use and, of course, food waste re­moval.

The po­ten­tial for cock­roaches is lim­it­less.

May you have a Happy New Year free of la cu­caracha.

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