The lugworm, frequently used as bait, could save human lives
Published in Blood Substitutes, Oxygen.
For centuries, the only use humans found for the lugworm — dark pink, slimy and inedible — was on the end of a fish hook.
But the invertebrates’ unappreciated status is about to change.
Their blood, say French researchers, has an extraordinary ability to load up with life-giving oxygen.
Harnessing it for human needs could transform medicine, providing a blood substitute that could save lives, speed recovery after surgery and help transplant patients, they say.
“The hemoglobin of the lugworm can transport 40 times more oxygen from the lungs to tissues than human hemoglobin,” says Gregory Raymond, a biologist at Aquastream, a fish-farming facility on the Brittany coastline.