Raman spectroscopy can help study blood stored in plastic blood bags

With Raman spectroscopy, researchers at the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC, Canada) can monitor biochemical changes and inter-donor variability in stored red blood cell (RBC) units.

Related: Laser speckle technique measures blood's clotting properties in near-real time

Led by professors Michael Blades and Robin Turner, the research team collaborated with the Canadian Blood Services (Ottawa, ON, Canada). In their study, they used Raman microspectroscopy (RMS) to investigate the chemical changes that occur in RBCs during storage in plastic bags, which could eventually be used as a quality check prior to transfusion.

The team showed how a confocal Raman microscope could be used to analyze bulk properties of a sample, both in a conventional microscopy mode, and with a laser offset by using the system's software-controlled beam steering capabilities. The laser and collection optics were purposely aligned to implement a spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS) measurement at a set position, enabling analysis of the blood with minimal interference from the bag material.

Full details of the work appear in the journal Analyst; for more information, please visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C6AN00373G.

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