Disgusting cockroach might be answer to waste management, health matters
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.