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Science & Technology

Starch-based Materials to Stop Blood Loss

  • 18 Mar 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

  • Recently, scientists from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST) have developed a starch-based ‘hemostat’ material that concentrates the natural clotting factors in blood by physically absorbing excess fluid.
    • Hemostat materials absorb excess fluid by concentrating the natural clotting factors in the blood that are critical for stopping the blood flow.

Key Points

  • The product is made by microparticles known as 'calcium-modified carboxymethyl-starch'.
  • When the microparticles combine, they create an adherent gel that can remain on the wound until slowly dissipating as healing proceeds.
  • These microparticles are prepared by modifying some of the chemical hydroxyl groups on starch to carboxymethyl groups while also incorporating the beneficial calcium ions, which encourages the aggregation of red blood cells and platelets and their activation to generate the fibrin protein network that forms a stable blood clot.
  • This modification increases the ability of the molecules to interact with water. This is the basis of its impressive ability to absorb fluid from the blood and hence concentrate the clotting factors.
  • The product has increased absorption capacity and adhesion, it is inexpensive, non-toxic, biocompatible as well as biodegradable.
  • Presently, no single hemostatic agent exists that can work in all situations and current hemostat materials are very expensive and available mostly in developed countries.

Blood Clotting

  • Clotting is a necessary process that can prevent too much loss of blood when there is cut or injury.
  • A blood clot is a clump of blood that has changed from a liquid to a gel-like or semisolid state.
  • Blood clots are healthy and lifesaving when they stop bleeding. But unnecessary clotting causes serious medical problems which include a heart attack, stroke, etc.
    • E.g If a clot formed inside one of veins breaks free and travels through veins to heart and lungs, it can get stuck and prevent blood flow.
  • An injury or a trauma stimulates the platelets (also called thrombocytes) in the blood to release certain factors which activate the mechanism of clotting.
    • Calcium ions, Fibrinogens, a protein and Vitamin K are also needed for clotting.


  • Starch is a carbohydrate extracted from agricultural raw materials.
  • The starch molecule consists of a large number of glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds.
  • It is the most important carbohydrate in the human diet.
  • Because it is renewable and biodegradable it is also a perfect raw material as a substitute for fossil-fuel components in numerous chemical applications such as plastics, detergents, glues etc.

Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST)

  • INST is an autonomous institution of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India under the Society Registration Act, 1960.

Source: PIB

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