If you see a cockroach running around the restaurant, you may want to go and eat elsewhere. These insects are known as hosts of various types of germs that can cause food poisoning. But what if the cockroach becomes your dinner dish?
Researchers found that stinging insects that prey on cockroaches have changed the way they protect themselves from the different types of germs found in animals they prey on. This finding is also useful for humans.
The growth period of the emerald jewel wasp larvae, a type of stinging green emeralds, takes place inside the cockroach’s body. At that time, these insect larvae ate their host animals, says biologist Gudrun Herzner, at the University of Regensburg, Germany. “So, cockroaches are the only source of food and place the growth of insects,” he explained.
Cockroaches love to live in very dirty places, ranging from garbage heaps to public restrooms. There one can find many extraordinary bacteria, fungi and viruses. These microbes not only can damage appetite, but also can damage food and make people sick.
Herzner says, essentially the insect larvae face the same problems that humanity faces. “First of all, larvae must protect their food from damage by microbes, and then have to protect themselves from diseases of food that may be caused by the microbes,” he explained again.
As the insect larvae find their way out of the microbial cockroach’s body, the larvae secrete large amounts of clear liquid. Herzner said, “We found the secretion to be composed of antimicrobial substances. The larvae seem to expel this secretion throughout the cockroach’s body, and this is how to clean the baby cockroach of its host from the microbes. ”
Herzner states this is the first time researchers have found insects that use such substances to eradicate microbes.
But there may still be other such materials. Microbiologist Julian Davies at the University of British Columbia says most of the antibiotics used by doctors are found from a variety of microbes that live on the ground. But if researchers turn to the world of insects, Davies says, they will find new sources of antibiotics.
The chemicals found by Herzner out of the emerald jewel wasp larva can overcome the germs that cause tuberculosis and hepatitis C.
But, like many other antimicrobial agents found elsewhere recently, ranging from frog skin to panda blood, none of which has been used as a drug. Davies said it was difficult to take a number of useful active chemicals from these sources. Therefore, it will be difficult to produce it in the laboratory. Another problem is that half of the ingredients are poisonous, Davies said.