Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The valuable blue blood of the crab-horseshoe

The crab-horseshoe (Limulus polyphemus) is one of the beings livings creature older than they exist in the planet. One stranger creature who seems exit of the film “Alien”, capable to support up to one year without if feeding and to resist extreme temperatures and salinities. A fossil living creature that inhabits our planet since has 445 million years before also that the dinossauros.

But now its number if finds in decrease of slow form, but constant, due to climatic change, it fishes it predatory and the captures for the pharmaceutical industries. Unhappyly for the animal, its quoted blue blood has numerous medical uses and is used to save myriad lives human beings.

Since 1950, when scientists had discovered that the blood of blue color of the crab-horseshoe if coagulava in contact with the bacteria E.coli and Salmonela, the research had never more stopped. One of these last studies if centered in a peptídeo that the crab-horseshoe elaborates and that it inhibits the response of the Virus of the Imunodeficiência Human being. The assays daily pay-physicians show that he is so effective as the zidovudina, a classic medicine against the AIDS. Also astronauts of NASA had tested in International the Space Station a medical device of high technology that uses primitive enzymes of the crabs of horseshoe for the diagnosis of illnesses human beings.

The secret that makes that the blood of the crab is of great utility for the biomedical industry is based on the simplicity and effectiveness of its imunológico system. A true enzyme cascade, that produces coagulation when they meet with the material of the cellular walls of the majority of the bacteria. The crab-horseshoe lives under constant threat of the infection in a habitat that can contain thousand of millions of bacteria for milliliter.

The difference of the human beings, the crabs do not have hemoglobina in the blood, senão that use the hemocianina to carry oxygen. E is due to copper presence in the hemocianina and not of iron, that the blood acquires the peculiar blue color.

This blue blood is so important that probably many of us we must the life to these crabs. E is not one exaggerates since the LAL (lisado of amebócitos of Limulus) watery extract of amebócitos of the crab is used with frequency in tests to detect the bacterial endotoxinas in numerous pharmaceutical products. Beyond being a form singela, cockroach and insurance to detect impurities are an important tool in the development of new antibiotics and vaccines.

The blood of the crab-horseshoe if not only converted into a powerful “medical weapon”, also is a great business. In the world-wide market, one liter of blood of this crab has an approach price of 15.000 dollars. An industry that generates 50 million dollar to the year alone in U.S.A. But this empalidece in comparison with its value for the pharmaceutical industry.

To get composition LAL, the blood of the least is required 500,000 crabs to the year, of which they are around extracted of 100 milliliters having perforateed the pericárdio of its primitive heart. During process 15% of the crabs they die, excessively are returned to the water.

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