Horseshow Crab Blood
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 products
derived 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.
- Stacy Epperson
Aquatic Resource Education Dept
Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., E-2
Annapolis, MD 21401