"Blood beets" could help save thousands
Swedish sugar-beet fields could provide a vital source of blood in the future as researchers at Lund University have found that sugar beets contain hemoglobin and may be used as a blood substitute.
Researchers at the faculty of engineering at Lund University in southern Sweden discovered that the process of extracting hemoglobin from sugar beets is not much more complicated than the process used for extracting sugar.
"We could extract about one to two tons of hemoglobin per hectare and that could help save thousands of lives," professor Leif Bülow said in a statement.
On average, a human body contains around one kilo of hemoglobin and research shows that the hemoglobin found in sugar beets is virtually identical to that found in humans.
Hemoglobin in the blood carries oxygen from the respiratory organs to the rest of the body. The researchers' findings are therefore expected to be of great use and could help save lives in emergency incidents like traffic accidents and in human catastrophes such as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.