Is blood biodegradable? (9 applications of blood)

In this article, the biodegradability of blood will be discussed. Other covered topics would be: 

  • What is blood?
  • What are the applications of blood?
  • What is biodegradability?
  • Why does biodegradability matter?
  • Is blood biodegradable?
  • FAQs

Is blood biodegradable?

Blood is biodegradable because it is made of materials like plasma, blood cells, and platelets. There are no harmful effects of blood on the environment. 

Blood is an essential component of the body that is responsible for immunity, transport of nutrients, oxygen and hormones. Blood is also responsible for blood clotting which is a measure to save blood loss. 

What is blood?

In order to understand whether blood is biodegradable or not, it is necessary to know what materials are required to make blood. In other words, what is the composition of blood? Where it is found and what are the applications of blood? 

As per the composition of blood, it is made of three to four essential elements. These are: 

  • Plasma 
  • Platelets
  • Red blood cells
  • White blood cells 

Blood is regarded as the essential fluid that maintains and sustains life. It is present in living organisms. The main role of blood is to circulate nutrients and minerals to various organs and parts of the body. 

Without blood, there is no survival. That is because the existence of an organism depends on the health and vitality of its organs. The health and vitality of organs is ensured by blood. 

As per the composition of blood, it is made of four essential elements. The first is the blood plasma. It is the liquid or fluid part of the blood that is responsible for giving mobility and fluidity to blood. 

The composition of plasma is mostly water, proteins, fats, salts and sugar. If there is no plasma, blood will not be able to be transported to various parts and organs of the body because the mobility feature of the blood will be impaired in this way. 

Another very important part of the blood is the red blood cells. Red blood cells are also referred to as erythrocytes. They constitute around 50% of the blood volume and are responsible for the red colour of the blood. 

Red blood cells are made in the kidneys. The most important element that makes up red blood cells is haemoglobin. It is a protein which is responsible for the transport of oxygen to the various parts of the body. 

You may remember your doctor asking you about your haemoglobin level. This is because the right amount of haemoglobin is very important to ensure the right vitality and functioning of living organs and parts of the body. 

If the haemoglobin is not in the required amount, then the oxygen supply to organs may be damaged leading to many ailments like anaemia. 

The next important element of blood is white blood cells. These are also referred to as leukocytes in the medical lexicon. The main function of leukocytes is to ensure the safety of the body from foreign pathogens and microbes. 

Therefore, it can be said that white blood cells are important in the protection against diseases and weaknesses because they provide immunity to the body against foreign attacks of microbes and pathogens. 

Blood also contains platelets. Platelets are not actually whole cells but are rather regarded as fragments of cells. The primary role of platelets is to assist in the blood clotting process.

Therefore, the right amount of platelets in the body is very essential. This is because if platelets are in less than the required amounts, this may lead to loss of blood and other complications. However, if platelets exceed the required amounts, then there can be excessive clotting. 

This will lead to impaired and defective functions of blood impacting the overall health and vitality of the body. 

What are the applications of blood? (9 applications of blood) 

A peripheral view has already been given to the applications, functions and usability of blood. This section will cover and detail the applications of blood in further detail. 

The overall applications of blood can be summed up in the following points. These may include: 

  • Transportation of oxygen to organs
  • Transportation of nutrients to organs
  • Immunity 
  • Protection against pathogens
  • Regulation of body temperature
  • Transportation of cells to different parts of the body 
  • Transportation of waste products to kidneys and liver
  • Formation of blood clots at the site of injury 
  • Transportation of hormones to various parts and organs of the body 

In the light of these points, it can rightly be assumed that blood is the important fluid connective tissue which is responsible for the survival and maintenance of living organisms. 

The primary role of blood is the transportation of nutrients, hormones, and oxygen to vital parts of the body. If that does not happen, the organs may not function. This situation may ultimately lead to death and necrosis. 

Blood is also responsible for providing immunity and protection to the body because it contains white blood cells. These cells are responsible for attacking any foreign agent that enters the body such as microbes or pathogens.

Another very important role of blood is the formation of clots. If there is any cut on the skin, you may have seen that in some time, a clot develops at the site of injury. This is because of platelets present in the blood. 

If there is no clotting, there will be excessive blood loss which may lead to countless medical anomalies. 

What is biodegradability?

Biodegradability can be explained as a process in which complex waste is broken down into simpler waste so that it may become a part of nature again. 

Biodegradability is important because if waste is not broken down, it will accumulate and will pollute our environment. 

These effects will also be reciprocated in life and human health. Therefore, it is incumbent to ensure that waste does not stay for long because it will lead to complications and obstructions. 

You may wonder what are the factors and agents responsible for the process of biodegradation. The most important agent for biodegradation is microbes. These microbes may include bacteria, fungi, algae, decomposers, protozoa, and yeast. 

Other than these microbes, there are external agents that also play an important role in the biodegradation process. These agents may be temperature, pressure, humidity, aeration, compaction, and sunlight. 

You may wonder how much time it take for the process of biodegradation to complete. To understand the answer better, you need to know the various types of waste that are classified based on biodegradation. 

Why does biodegradability matter?

You may wonder what is the deal with biodegradability. Why does it matter so much? These questions can be answered from a number of frames. 

The first is the impact that is caused by non-biodegradable waste. The problem with non-biodegradable waste is not just the accumulation of such waste. It is seen that there are a number of negative impacts of non-biodegradable waste on the environment. 

The production of non-biodegradable products is waste is done at the expense of fossil fuels. This leads to the release of greenhouse gases. These gases are responsible for a number of environmental and health-related complications. 

A good example would be global warming. GHGs lead to the global rise in temperature. This is because GHGs like carbon dioxide or ethylene store the sun’s energy in the atmosphere which results in greater temperature. 

The increased temperature then disrupts the natural balance of the world leading to another set of environmental complications and problems. This is because there is an increased level of interconnection and amalgamation found in nature. 

The common effects caused by the occurrence of non-biodegradable waste include: 

  • Global warming
  • Melting of glaciers
  • Increased sea levels
  • Deforestation
  • Decreased tree count
  • Decreased air quality
  • Poor fertility of the soil
  • Loss of life
  • Disruption of ecosystem
  • Chance in the natural habitats
  • Destruction of the natural order

The effects of non-biodegradable waste are not just limited to the environment. They are also reciprocated in life as well. Including humans, all forms of life are affected and impacted by the occurrence of non-biodegradable waste. 

These effects may include: 

  • Necrosis 
  • Organ damage
  • Developmental issues
  • Hormone change
  • Neuro Complications
  • Neuro toxicity 
  • Cancer
  • Mutations
  • Skin diseases
  • Behavioural changes
  • Damages to the foetus 

Another aspect through which the importance of biodegradable waste over a non-biodegradable waste can be asserted is the fact that the current waste generation is already at an alarming threshold. 

Therefore, it is needed that facilitations and optimisations are provided to the waste management endeavours because if that does not happen, then it will lead to increased pollution and environmental degradation. 

To put this into perspective, the amount of waste generated by a single person in a day is around 3-5 kgs. This leads to the total accumulation of waste in billions of tons. 

If the situation is to be tackled, it is imperative that there is a greater generation of biodegradable waste rather than non-biodegradable waste.

The primary reason behind this is that biodegradable waste has the capacity to be dissolved in nature whereas, non-biodegradable waste will last for many hundred years. This will create hurdles and obstacles in waste management endeavours. 

Is blood biodegradable?

Blood is biodegradable because it is made of natural and biological materials like blood cells, plasma, and fragments of blood cells. 

Since there are no synthetic elements involved, it can be said that blood is 100% biodegradable. Microbes and other degrading agents (like liver cells)  will have no issue degrading the contents of blood. 

There will be no harmful effects of blood on the environment because it is purely a biological entity. 

Conclusion

Blood is biodegradable because it is made of materials like plasma, blood cells, and platelets. There are no harmful effects of blood on the environment. 

Blood is an essential component of the body that is responsible for immunity, transport of nutrients, oxygen and hormones. Blood is also responsible for blood clotting which is a measure to save blood loss. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Is blood biodegradable?

Can you drink blood?

No, it is not advisable to drink blood because it may lead to contact with blood-borne diseases. 

What are blood-borne diseases?

Blood-borne diseases are those ailments which are caused by pathogens present in the blood. 

References

  • Russell, E. S., & Bernstein, S. E. (1966). Blood and blood formation. Biology of the laboratory mouse, 2, 351-372.
  • Klinger, M. H., & Jelkmann, W. (2002). Role of blood platelets in infection and inflammation. Journal of interferon & cytokine research, 22(9), 913-922.
  • Agita, A., & Alsagaff, M. T. (2017). Inflammation, immunity, and hypertension. Acta Medica Indonesiana, 49(2), 158.
  • Litvinov, R. I., & Weisel, J. W. (2017). Role of red blood cells in haemostasis and thrombosis. ISBT science series, 12(1), 176-183.
  • Schrijvers, D., De Bruyn, E., Van Oosterom, A. T., & Vermorken, J. B. (1999). Role of red blood cells in pharmacokinetics of chemotherapeutic agents. Anti-cancer drugs, 10(2), 147-154.
  • American Society of Haematology. Blood Basics. Retrieved from: https://www.hematology.org/education/patients/blood-basics

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