Horseshoe crab or the valuable blue blood

hcrab

When we think of expensive and scarce things, the first thing that comes to mind may be stuff such gasoline, gold, a liter of printer ink or even coltan. But rarely think of as first choice in the blood.

A liter of Horseshoe blood has a price tag of $ 60,000. The industry estimated at $ 50 million  in the U.S. per year, less in comparison to its value to the pharmaceutical industry.

We do not know whether it belongs to royalty by that which has blue blood, but if we know that few could pay the price reaches a liter of blood.

The scary appearance of this member of the Limulidae family reveals that are a living fossil. Phylogenetically are related to other arthropods, spiders and scorpions. These ancient beings had become a new life-saving tool.

The entire body is protected by a hard carapace. Those crabs are placed on a rack and bled with a large-gauge needle, extracting up to 30% of the crab’s blood.

Vertebrate blood is red due to hemoglobin, a heteroprotein having an iron ion, responsible for transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide through the bloodstream. But horseshoe crabs, like many other invertebrates, why is blue instead of iron have copper.

But what makes it special is the presence of amoebocytes, responsible for defending the body against pathogens (fungi, viruses, and bacterial endotoxin). Horseshoe crabs live in a habitat that can contain billions of bacteria per millilitre where is easy to be infected.

LAL or Lymulus Amebocyte Lisate was recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has become the international standard screening test for bacterial contamination.

On a 97-85% of the animals survive the process. As soon as possible, they are returned to the sea, at a great distance from the coast to avoid being bled before to soon. It takes roughly 30 days for the horseshoe crab to generate the blood that was extracted.

More information is available on webpages as the following:  http://www.horseshoecrab.org/med/med.html

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One response to “Horseshoe crab or the valuable blue blood

  1. Pingback: The Blue Blood of a Horseshoe crab is Precious·

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