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crabs blood? Saving lives? Interesting...

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posted on Oct, 7 2014 @ 08:18 PM

The helmet-shaped creature has developed a unique defense to compensate for its vulnerability to infection in shallow waters. When faced with toxins produced by bacteria, amebocyte cells in the blood -- colored blue by their copper-based molecules -- identify and congeal around the invading matter, trapping the threat inside a gel-like seal that prevents it from spreading.

An extract has been used in the industry-standard limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) contamination test since the 1970s -- replacing a rabbit-based system. Forty-five minutes of exposure to the crab's blood is enough to reveal endotoxins from gram-negative bacteria which otherwise avoid detection, and is sensitive enough to isolate a threat the equivalent size of a grain of sand in a swimming pool. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that intravenous drugs and any medical equipment coming in contact with the body must first pass through the crab's blood, from needles to surgical implants including pacemakers. As a result, thousands more of us survive such procedures.

The blood is finding other uses on Earth too. Japanese scientists have devised a test for fungal infections with it, and further research is developing anti-viral and anti-cancer treatment through the same principle of isolating and trapping threats. As the applications and their value multiplies, efforts have increased to develop alternative tests, rather than rely on harvesting the crabs. One approach uses an electronic chip that provides an alert when in contact with contaminants. Another system using liquid crystals, developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, could offer similar detection ability at lower cost.

I had no Idea. This is some very amazing stuff. I had not even considered the possibility that medical equipment was tested with crab blood. Apparently it is being used to find bacteria in space too. I just thought some of you would find this interesting, I'm not going to sit here and write a whole lot bc I have things to do before bed. Have a good night.

posted on Oct, 7 2014 @ 09:02 PM
There are so many applications and most are probably not even aware horseshoe crabs' blood Has so many cool uses!

When I was a kid I would watch all of the Discovery shows about animals and take notes about cool facts, like the blue-blood of horseshoe crabs due to the copper. Ahh, nostalgia

Great post, thanks so much for sharing!

a reply to: theyknowwhoyouare

posted on Oct, 7 2014 @ 11:17 PM
there's that stuff on copper vs. iron blood once more..
tinfoil-hat 'geneology' research

posted on Oct, 11 2014 @ 11:43 PM
It's not a crab though, they are closer to scorpions and spiders actually. I used to love playing with them as a child, amazing creatures and very beautiful (to me, I am weird I admit it).

I didn't read the article, but no horseshoe crabs (or very few) are killed in the process. They harvest them from the ocean, drain them of some blood, and then release them back into the wild.
edit on 11-10-2014 by OccamsRazor04 because: (no reason given)

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