Using soil may form a wound-sealing plug that also prevents blood loss

April 30, 2020

A surprising new discovery by scientists at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, suggests that sanitised soil could be used to halt bleeding – while regular dirt contains many microorganisms that may cause infections if applied to an open wound, sanitised soil could be easily procured and stored onsite in remote locations or developing nations, where traditional wound-sealing products such as sponges and sealants are hard to come by.

In lab mouse trials, the UBC scientists saw that the naturally-occurring silicates in sanitised soil activated a blood protein known as coagulation Factor XII, found in all terrestrial (land-based) mammals. Once triggered, the protein would initiate a chain reaction that causes blood to clot.

“This finding demonstrates how terrestrial mammals, ranging from mice to humans, evolved to naturally use silicates as a specific signal to Factor XII to trigger blood clotting,” said UBC postdoctoral student Lih Jiin Juang.

“These results will have a profound impact on the way we view our relationship with our environment.”

While the use of plain dirt is not recommended, other types of soil could still prove useful: the scientists plan to test silicates obtained from “moon soil”to see if they also trigger Factor XII, which could be used for wound treatment in future lunar colonies.


Category: Features, Wellness and Complementary Therapies

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