Blood Samples Stored in Silk Endure Warmer Temperatures

Blood Samples Stored in Silk Endure Warmer Temperatures

By storing the blood samples in a silk protein taken from silkworm cocoons, the researchers say blood samples can be preserved in higher temperatures (Credit: Tufts Silk Lab). 

If they're not going to be analyzed right away, blood samples are best kept chilled as warmer temperatures can distort the biomarkers physicians rely on for diagnosis. But researchers have now discovered that they can preserve blood at higher temperatures by storing it amongst silk proteins, a development that could mean big things for health care in places where cooling facilities are scarce. 

Scientists at Tuft University developed the new blood storage method by extracting a silk protein from silkworm cocoons called fibroin. This protein is renowned for its protective qualities when applied to other materials, as demonstrated by the fruit-preserving silk coating we covered last week (also a product of Tuft University). 

The protein was purified and added to the blood, with the mixture then air-dried and stored at temperatures ranging from 22 to 45° C (72 to 113° F).

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