The 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 productsderived from a marine organism to benefit humans.
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.
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