Making blood (and doughnuts) last

Published April 24, 2020

Donated blood only lasts about six weeks, but there could be a way to extend that: tre­halose. It’s a mol­e­cule that some bac­te­ria, fun­gi and even plants use to sur­vive freez­ing — prob­a­bly by using it to replace water in their cells. (It’s also used as a food preser­v­a­tive, notably on dough­nut glaze*.)

If you can get tre­halose into red blood cells, that could let you ‘dry them out’ and pre­serve the blood for, well, years.

The trick, say University of Louisville researchers, is to use ultra­sound “to cre­ate pores in blood cells, which allows the mol­e­cule tre­halose to enter the cells and pre­vent their degra­da­tion when dried for preser­va­tion.”

* Mmm, doughnuts.
Tags: , , ,