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Why Horseshoe Crab Blood Is So Expensive | So Expensive

Why Horseshoe Crab Blood Is So Expensive | So Expensive

– Narrator: This blueish liquid is one of the most expensive
resources in the world. No, it’s not the blue milk from “Star Wars.” It’s actually blood from a horseshoe crab, and the stuff this blood makes costs $60,000 a gallon. So why is it so expensive and who’s buying horseshoe crab blood? The blue color comes
from copper in the blood. But that’s not it’s most
interesting feature. The blood contains a
special clotting agent. It’s used to make a concoction called Limulus amebocyte lysate or LAL. Before LAL, scientists had no
easy way of knowing whether a vaccine or medical tool was
contaminated with bacteria. Like E. coli or salmonella. Scientists would inject vaccines into huge numbers of rabbits and then basically wait for
symptoms to show up. But when LAL was approved for use in 1970, it changed everything. Drop a minuscule amount of it onto a medical device or vaccine,
and the LAL will encase any gram-negative bacteria
in a jelly cocoon. While it can’t kill the bacteria, the jelly seal is like a fire alarm. Alerting us to the presence of what could become a
potentially lethal infection and prevent it from spreading. Each year, the medical industry catches around 600,000 horseshoe crabs. The crabs are drained
of 30% of their blood and up to 30% of the crabs
don’t live through the process. The survivors are returned to the water, but no one really knows how
well or if they recover. In 2016, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature bumped the American horseshoe
crab up to vulnerable on it’s red list, one step below endangered. And the US population could keep falling, by as much as 30% over the next 40 years. LAL Labs claim that the returned
crabs eventually recover, but new evidence suggests
that’s not always the case. Win Watson is trying to
figure out what happens to the crabs when they’re
put back in the sea. – Narrator: Bled crabs become disoriented and weak for a period of time, and females may have trouble spawning. – Narrator: But it’s getting through those two weeks that’s the issue. – Narrator: Scientists are trying to find a synthetic
alternative to help reduce the strain on the
horseshoe crab population. But so far, LAL is still required by the FDA for this type of testing. So if these animals
really aren’t recovering at the rate companies previously thought, we might eventually run
out of crabs to bleed. If that happens, our lives and the lives of countless rabbits, might be at risk.

100 comments on “Why Horseshoe Crab Blood Is So Expensive | So Expensive

  1. There is a pretty easy fix to the horseshoe crabs dying, I say harvest 3x less than you normally do but take all the blood you can (which isn't going to be 100% but rather in the high 90%) this makes it so the 15-25% that died when you previously released aren't going to waste and you take less. I don't know why people catch and release in fishing but it's not a good idea, the fish succumb to their wounds a couple days to a week after you release them so they die anyways, wasting the fish and wasting the supply of fish; I'm just applying the same principle here so we waste less.

  2. Why do they take blue blood from the crab instead of killing the rabbit..because it will make them earn money..Daaaaa

  3. They are doing too much, the beach used to be covered in these and now there are almost none! And they have such sweet personalities, it's sad they have been almost wiped out in like 15 years.

  4. If you make a problem for the horseshoe crabs population, I will take human life’s as a return what you did.

  5. What a sick practice. What lenghts are humans ready to go to help themselves on the cost of other lifeforms?

  6. They survived for half a billion years. They went through nearly all of the mass extinctions. Lets hope they will survive the 6th.

  7. Honestly, breeding them in captivity is completely doable but that requires effort, and effort is too much effort. They are available as aquarium animals, just feed them their proper diet and give them the space they need and they're fine. But why bother doing that when they're already right there?!

  8. Time to stop destroying our planet like overgrown toddlers simply because we feel entitled to do so. If people would adopt animals and kids instead of living like world destroying creeps we wouldn't require the blood of a billion marine animals to "hopefully" better our health. Smh our planet's not magically invincible and humans are overpopulating. Why won't people evolve? They just keep breading golden retrievers, buying luxury sedans & destroying our environment for profit while simultaneously refusing to adopt children. 🤯 What….the…f*** is wrong with 90 percent of our population? Is it impossible for mfs to acquire a solution based point to their existence…I know I can't live for my appearance, desires or personal comfort and satisfaction. I'm not 7 years old, im 30. Our planet's destruction proves that most individuals simply want to live a lie

  9. Ridiculous. Researchers are not the problem, they take a fraction of the population of Horseshoe Crabs. Its all the migratory birds that are eating the eggs on the beach, which will make the crabs go extinct. Its the same thing that is happening on the coast of California, there is an increase in the bird population, and they are eating everything, including a species of endangered waterfowl eggs. Another problem is the birds are the carriers of the Flu, and they will be the cause of the next flu pandemic. Control the bird population and Voilà- two problems solved. Common Sense.

  10. 0:47 the way the doctor’s stabbing animals with a syringe while smiling and watching them die…………………

  11. I see connor licking that blue blood while hank is just standing there disgusted and still confused

  12. It has to be done in sustainable and humane way. Why can't scientist breed them artificially in the farms, perhaps that can help to save them from extinction.

  13. 1st off they need to tak 25% of their blood istead of over 50% and use the same damn crabsfor the testing if they're going to remain commited to this, and allow them time inbetween to fully recover since they would like to continue using them for science. But ultimately all that science they are using it for needs to 1st go into breaking down thee molecular structure of the blood so that they have the proper ratios and can then work on replicating it, not to mention they have cloning sciences available so there should be no need to keep touching the wild life.

  14. I picked up a horseshoe crab today and it was huge it was bigger than my head and I was so scared so I just dropped it but it had rust on it

  15. I am studying pharmacy and this is from my textbook about the LAL test "A commercially available assay uses horseshoe crab factor C made by recombinant DNA techniques (factor C is the key protein activated by endotoxin in the LAL assay). This allows for a more standardized assay protocol and has the advantage of being free of animal products". So I have hope that the crabs won't go extinct 🙂 Cited book: Brock Biology of microorganisms

  16. Maybe it is advisable to reduce the amount of blood withdrawed out, it's like just like human donations max 9% out of 5 L of human blood. Maybe 10% of total volume of horseshoe crab's blood should only be drained and maybe the rate of ejecting the blood should be really slower

  17. Invent something Elle’s, breed them, or just let them recover in an aquarium for the fist weeks. I hate humans taking advantage of animals this way. In my opinion it is as bad as rape.

  18. I actually saw someone poaching these a few weeks ago. He grabbed about 10 of them. Part of me felt bad for the crabs, another part of me wanted to get in on the heist.

  19. Why not extract and breed the Amebocytes separately, instead of vampirizing and killing the wonderful ancient Horseshoe Crabs?

  20. So.. you just make a hole in a crab, make him in pain, drain 30% of his blood and then put him back home? Isn't that rude?!

  21. I’m pretty sure breeding them would be better than just taking them from the wild. The medicine industry makes billions I’m sure it’s possible for them to make a breeding farm.

  22. I want to get into this business because of how much money is involved.
    But I care about the environment and this species and if I can figure out how to keep them as pets and extract blood safely, then I will go for the lucrative path while still respecting their lives.

    I just hope that it's possible to do…

  23. All these comments on how to do this why not do it at all they we’re here before us like every other animal this is wrong

  24. WTF, If the Horseshoe crab is SO valuable and its blood SO expensive It does`nt MAKE SENSE to drain 33% of its BLOOD you idiots; when we give blood they take less than 10% and I wonder if I would survive after giving 1,8 litres of around 5,3 Total? "Experts" are often among the dumbest people!

  25. Why don't they just farm them, bleed them at say 10% return them to the farm for 60 days and then back into the ocean to help repopulate the diminishing numbers? I'm in Florida and I am down to start this. Anyone interested?lol

  26. Last school holiday, me and my family and cousins went to a seaside Hotel to enjoy our holiday and we found horseshoe crab's corpes, it seems like eaten nor killed by other crabs inside the rock

  27. I use to give a middle finger to people who objectively hate all humans but after watching this I'm starting to see why humans suck so bad.

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