Introduction: Glowing Slug Blood Experiment

About: Bill Nye the Science guy is my Hero... that and Bear Grylls...would be cool if they combined to become Bear Nye the Wilderscience Guy using science and technology to drink his own pee.

This is a simple experiment that demonstrates biology and florescence. You can make slug blood glow bright green/blue using a standard UV light. All you need are three things:

1. A SLUG!

2. Rubbing Alcohol

3. A UV light

Human blood is made up of proteins that hold IRON atoms. The iron has a natural attraction or affinity for oxygen molecules, that is how our blood "carries" O2! If you have ever seen iron rust (due to oxygen) then you can understand why our blood is bright red when it's oxygenated.

Human blood is called BLOOD.......duh! But slugs/snails and most other mollusks have blood that is called HEMOCYANIN. The proteins in slug blood carry COPPER atoms instead of iron. They too attract oxygen. The copper gives the blood a bluish green color. Interesting thing about copper atoms is they fluoresce under UV light.

When the copper atoms are "charged up" with high energy ULTRAviolet light, the coppers' electrons jump to a higher energy state but then hop back down to their normal states, when this happens a packet of light called a photon is released to sorta balance everything out. Long story short: UV light goes in, Blue/green light comes out!

Step 1: The Experiment

  • First, go find yourself a garden slug. These things can be pretty bad pests and ruin a gardener's hard work, so I wouldn't feel too bad about donating their lives to science.
  • You can freeze them to kill them.
  • Next (this part is not for the squeamish) place the slug in a zip loc bag full of rubbing alcohol and squish and squash him up real good, this releases the blood into a solution. It also makes for a great stress reliever. Pour the solution through a coffee filter into a clear container.
  • Last, MAKE IT GLOW using any UV light. I use a cheap flashlight version.

P.S. I was thinking of making a "slug blood lamp of science", how cool would that be? Kinda creepy but cool!

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