Nit-picky Nerd-Talk: Biliverdin or Bilirubin?

For you biology sticklers out there, I tried to imply a natural explanation for the toxicity of Oswag’s green blood by focusing on the bilirubin it contains, though I’m aware that the chemical biliverdin is what would give his blood its verdant hue (this isn’t the only way for certain animals to have green blood, but it’s the way I chose for Oswag*). After only cursory research, I admit, I came to understand that biliverdin is “a pigment excreted in bile” that results from the decay of hemoglobin, and it is also the same pigment that gives certain skinks (Prasinohaema virdens) their green colored blood.

Whoa, what a FREAK!

Biliverdin then typically breaks down into bilirubin, which is the more toxic stuff, especially in excessive amounts. For example, jaundice is a condition caused by build-up of biliverdin and bilirubin. Normally, your liver would filter them out, but if not, their accumulation would contaminate your blood, and I imagine that wouldn’t feel very nice at all. Isn’t science NEAT, folks??

But the question remains, could you actually get sick by coming into contact with Oswag’s green blood??

No, of course not. Oswag is an imaginary character.

Have a nice day!

*P.S.: Want to know more about blood colors? I did, too, so I looked here:
http://www.compoundchem.com/2014/10/28/coloursofblood/

 

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