Horseshoe Crab Medical Uses
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American Horseshoe Crab

 

Contact

​Stacy Epperson
Education Specialist
Aquatic Resource Education Dept
Chesapeake and Coastal Service
MD Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., E-2
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410-260-8775
stacy.epperson@maryland.gov​

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Horseshoe Crab Blood

medical uses

a bottle of horseshoe crab blood, it is a bright blue colorThe blood of the horseshoe crab provides a valuable medical product critical to maintaining the safety of many drugs and devices used in medical care. A protein in the blood called Limulus Amebocyte Lysate (LAL) is used by pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to test their products for the presence of endotoxins, bacterial substances that can cause fevers and even be fatal to humans.

The LAL test is one of the most important medical products
derive​d from a marine organism to benefit humans.

Why is the Horseshoe Crab the original "blue blood"?

A horseshoe crab's blood has a blue to blue-green color when exposed to the air. The blood is blue because it contains a copper-based respiratory pigment called hemocyanin.

 

Additional references​ ​​