Their haemoglobin can transport 40 times more oxygen than human haemoglobin, say researchers
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.
French researchers said their blood had an extraordinary ability to load up with life-giving oxygen.
Harnessing it for human needs, they said, could transform medicine, providing a blood substitute that could save lives, speed recovery after surgery and help transplant patients.
“The haemoglobin of the lugworm can transport 40 times more oxygen from the lungs to tissues than human haemoglobin. It also has the advantage of being compatible with all blood types,” said Gregory Raymond, a biologist at Aquastream, a fishfarming facility on the Brittany coastline.
Raymond and his team, which specialises in fish egg production, joined forces with biotech firm Hemarina in 2015 to secure a reliable means of lugworm production.
The facility churns out more than 1.3 million of the creatures each year, each providing tiny amounts of the precious haemoglobin.
“We started from zero. Since the worm had never been studied, all parameters needed inventing from scratch, from feeding to water temperature,” said project researcher Police officers preparing for the execution of Mohammed al-Moghrabi, 41, who was convicted of raping and murdering a 3-year-old girl, in Sanaa, Yemen, yesterday. Thousands of people gathered to witness the public execution. Moghrabi was first given 100 lashes and then made to lie flat, his face on the ground, and killed by multiple gunshots by security forces to cheers from the crowd.