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.