Copper In Blood – Hemocyanin


What is Hemocyanin ?

Hemocyanin is a protein found in mollusks that carries oxygen in much the same way as hemoglobin carries oxygen in human blood. Similarly to hemoglobin, a central metal atom binds oxygen differentially, however in hemocyanin, this central metal atom is copper.

What color is hemocyanin?

Unlike the hemoglobin in red blood cells found in vertebrates, hemocyanins are not

bound to blood cells but are instead suspended directly in the hemolymph. Oxygenation
causes a color change between the colorless Cu(I) deoxygenated form and the blue Cu(II)
oxygenated form.

What animals use hemocyanin?.

Hemocyanin is a respiratory protein, much like Hemoglobin. However, Hemocyanin
contains copper instead of iron, which gives the blood of animals with Hemocyanin blue
instead of red. Most molluscs and arthropods contain Hemocyanin, such as the
horseshoe crab and the giant octopus.

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What animal has copper in its blood?

Unlike most animals on earth, whose blood is iron-based, some mollusks (Mollusca) and
arthropods (Arthropoda) have copper-based blood. The protein molecule hemocyanin
carries oxygen through the body, in much the same way hemoglobin carries oxygen to
cells in mammals and other animals.
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