March 4, 2004 | David F. Coppedge

Sugar-Dried Blood: Just Add Water

A discovery might save lives on the battlefield, or any other place where blood platelets are hard to come by.  A simple sugar named trehalose can replace water in platelets and perhaps red blood cells.  This could provide an alternative to freeze-drying, making blood platelets (necessary for clotting) available with a shelf-life of months or years.  The story is reported in the March 4 issue of Nature.1
    Trehalose, a sugar found in yeast and shrimp that renders them impervious to dehydration, is naturally non-toxic to cells.  “Its properties are almost miraculous,” says author Geoff Brumfiel, based on studies by John Crowe and others.  Whereas freezing a cell risks damage when the water crystallizes, trehalose displaces water and neatly fits in and around proteins and membranes, protecting them from damage.  Though some technical hurdles remain, a DARPA team using trehalose has succeeded in extending the shelf-life of platelets to two years, “an impressive result.”
    Whether the sugar can dehydrate cells with nuclei will be more of a challenge.  Still, this has to be good news for the army.  Brumfield described the logistical problem they currently face: “The US military is one of the most bloodthirsty organizations on Earth.  The troops hold regular blood drives to keep a required 70,000 units on hand at all times; and a veritable small army is needed to transport this blood to remote battle zones in Iraq or Afghanistan.”  It goes without saying that this discovery could also help the Red Cross in your home town.


1Geoff Brumfiel, “Cell biology: Just add water,” Nature 428, 14 – 15 (04 March 2004); doi:10.1038/428014a.

Scientists did not design this sugar from scratch.  They found it, already working as a dehydrating agent, in yeast and shrimp.  Nature already has the best designs.  Evolutionists often admit this.  They just don’t admit they were designed.

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Categories: Amazing Facts, Health

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