Gaining Heme Iron Product from Waste Blood

Researches from Institute for Medical Research (IMI) and Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, University of Belgrade (TMF) are developing new technological process that would translate blood waste into heme iron product for prevention of anaemia in piglets.

The story started when researches from the IMI and the TMF developed the original process for haemoglobin isolation from aged human erythrocytes[1]. Applying this process, ultrapure haemoglobin was obtained and modified into blood substitute[2]. The modified haemoglobin was then proved in vivo and in vitro tests to be an efficient source of biologically active iron.

Experiments with this modified haemoglobin on lab rats (which were bled up to 60%!) have shown that most of the rats survived but what was even more interesting is that, in these rats, the red blood cells started developing! These results showed that the hemoglobin is an efficient source of iron and led to the idea to develop heme iron drug to prevent anaemia in piglets, keeping in mind that hypochromic anaemia in pigs is a major health and economic problem. After the birth the piglets are not anaemic, but they usually do develop anaemia if the iron drug isn’t received in the first hours of life. New born piglets have low iron reserves in the body and due to a very small amount of iron in the sow’s milk, up to 20% of them can die of anoxia!

Experiments were repeated, haemoglobin was isolated from pig’s blood, given to piglets, and the results were fascinating! The piglets used 60% of iron and no adverse effects were found.

“Several facts support the need to obtain a product based on heme iron (iron derived from haemoglobin):  the heme iron’s biological efficiency is much higher compared to non-heme iron, its absorption doesn’t interfere with other food ingredients, and there are no adverse effects. Beside preparation based on heme iron, our idea was to produce iron – fortified foods too”, says Dr. Vesna Ilic, research associate at the IMI.

Iron – fortified foods should be given to pregnant sows. In this absolutely natural way, the iron content in milk is increased and development of anaemia in piglets is prevented at the time of colostrum intake. This concept of preventing anaemia in piglets is brand new and so far no attempt was made to prevent anaemia in piglets in this way in clinical practice.

From waste blood to the heme iron preparations

On the other hand, blood waste in slaughterhouses can be used as an inexhaustible raw material for heme iron production. Namely, the material that is such a biohazard as the wasted blood is, is translated into a valuable product. In the process, which efficiency is 70%, six (6) grams of highly valuable biological heme iron can be isolated. Considering that there are 3 million pigs in Serbia only and that each of these would need to receive heme iron drug in the first hours after birth, this is indicating the large economy potential of project (E! HEMIRON 4486).

“Implementation of the new special procedures has opened a new technology solution for blood collection, purification, drying and designing a product consisting of a dry powder. In a powder form the blood waste can be easily collected and manipulated without expensive investment in the infrastructure, equipment and additional costs”, says PhD Branko Bugarski, professor at TMF.

Laboratory pilot plant for controlled haemolysis of waste blood has been set at IMI. The process is based on gradual reduction of hypotonic solution’s ionic strength, followed by purification by tangential micro and ultra filtration, and ion – exchange chromatography. The final product is completely structurally preserved and biologically functional ultrapure haemoglobin (99,999%).

National patent applications have been accepted for processes of isolating haemoglobin from bovine erythrocytes by controlled haemolysis in membrane reactor and in pilot plant. Now, the optimization of haemolysis of fresh bovine erythrocytes from whole blood is in its final stage, the equipment is ready and it’s in the installation phase at the location Slaughterhouse Turkovic, Sjenica.

Bearing in mind that in addition to anaemia in piglets, application of this concept solves one of the important environmental issues, it is expected there will be great interest in HEMIRON project implementation at international level.

[1] Verfahren zur Herstellung von Hemoglobin, Deutsches Patentamt DE 197 07508. B.Bugarski, Dovezenski N, Hemofarm Koncern, 2000.

[2] Bugarski B, Dovezenski N, Stojanovic N, Bugarski D, Hemofarm Koncern. Emulsion containing hydrophobic nanodrops with bound hemoglobin molecules in a hydrophilic phase as a blood substitute. Deutsches Patentamt DE 2002-1020, 9860 WO 2003074022, 2003.


Source:  www.inovacionifond.rs