What is The Difference Between Serum and Plasma?

Not all people are aware of the difference between serum and plasma. So let’s explain.

The serum is the clear, straw-colored liquid that separates from whole blood when it is allowed to clot. Plasma is the clear, yellowish fluid that remains when the blood cells and clotting proteins are removed from whole blood.

Serum and plasma both come from the liquid portion of the blood that remains once the cells are removed, but that’s where the similarities end. The serum is the liquid that remains after the blood has clotted. Plasma is the liquid that remains when clotting is prevented with the addition of an anticoagulant.

This is not an insignificant difference. However, It is important to understand the difference between serum and plasma because these substances have different properties and are used for different purposes in medical and laboratory settings.

II. Definition of serum

The serum is the clear, straw-colored liquid that separates from whole blood when it is allowed to clot. It contains a variety of substances, including proteins, hormones, and enzymes, but does not contain clotting proteins (such as fibrinogen) or blood cells.

The serum is prepared from whole blood by allowing it to clot and then separating the liquid portion (serum) from the solid portion (clot). This can be done by allowing the blood to clot naturally or by using a chemical agent to induce clotting.

III. Definition of plasma

Plasma is the clear, yellowish fluid that remains when the blood cells and clotting proteins are removed from whole blood. It contains a variety of substances, including proteins, hormones, and enzymes, as well as dissolved gases and nutrients.

Plasma is prepared from whole blood by separating the blood cells and clotting proteins from the liquid portion (plasma) using a process called centrifugation. This involves spinning the whole blood in a centrifuge, which separates the heavier blood cells from the lighter plasma.

IV. Differences between serum and plasma

There are differences between serum and plasma in terms of their physical and chemical properties, as well as their use in medical and laboratory settings.

Physical and chemical differences between serum and plasma:

The serum is usually a clearer and more straw-colored liquid compared to plasma, which is usually a more yellowish color.

The serum contains fewer proteins and other substances compared to plasma, as it lacks the clotting proteins and blood cells found in plasma.

The serum contains a variety of substances, including proteins, hormones, and enzymes, but does not contain clotting proteins or blood cells.

Plasma contains a variety of substances, including proteins, hormones, and enzymes, as well as dissolved gases and nutrients. It also contains clotting proteins and blood cells.

Differences in the use of serum and plasma in medical and laboratory settings:

The serum is often used for diagnostic tests, as it contains a variety of substances that can be measured to assess the health of an individual. Examples of tests that use serum include blood sugar tests, liver function tests, and thyroid function tests.

Plasma is often used in transfusions and research, as it contains a variety of substances that can be used to support the body’s functions or to study the mechanisms of various diseases. Plasma is also used to make a number of products, such as albumin (a protein used to treat shock and burn victims) and clotting factors (used to treat bleeding disorders).

Comparison table Plasma Vs Serum

 SerumPlasma
The serum is the liquid part of the blood after coagulation.Plasma is a clear and yellowish fluid part of the blood.
The serum is the water fluid from blood without clotting factors.Plasma is the blood fluid that contains blood clotting agents.
The volume of serum is less in comparison to plasma.Plasma is a clear yellow liquid that is 55% of the total volume of blood.
The serum is acquired from the process of spinning after clotting.Plasma is acquired from the process of spinning before clotting.
The serum is more difficult and time-consuming to separate.Plasma is easier and less time-consuming to separate as compared with serum.
The serum does not need anticoagulants for separation.Anticoagulants are necessary to separate plasma.
The serum contains proteins, electrolytes, antibodies, antigens, and hormones.Plasma is considered the medium of blood in which RBCs (Red Blood Cells), WBC (White Blood Cells), and other components of blood are suspended.
Serums contain antibodies and cross-react with recipient antigens.Blood plasma contains antibodies, a type of protein that can fight a substance considered foreign to the host body.
The serum contains proteins like albumin and globulins.Plasma contains clotting factors and water.
Fibrinogen AbsentFibrinogen Present
The serum contains 90% water.Plasma contains 92-95% water.
Serum can be stored at 2-6 degrees centigrade for several days.Frozen plasma can be stored for up to a year.
The serum has a density of approximately 1.024 g/ml.Plasma has a density of approximately 1025 kg/m3 or 1.025 g/ml.
Cells are usually attached together by clot formation.Cells are not attached together and are suspended in plasma.
The serum is the most preferred part of blood used in checking blood groups.Plasma is delivered to patients who lack blood cells.
The serum is an important source of electrolytes and animal sera are used as anti-venom, anti-toxins, and vaccinations.Plasma contains proteins that help in the transportation of material such as glucose and other dissolved nutrients through the blood.
The serum is used for various diagnostic tests used for determining the levels of hCG, cholesterol, proteins, sugar, etc., in the blood.Plasma aids in the maintenance of blood pressure and in the regulation of body temperature

V. Conclusion

The serum is the clear, straw-colored liquid that separates from whole blood when it is allowed to clot, while plasma is the clear, yellowish fluid that remains when the blood cells and clotting proteins are removed from whole blood. There are several physical and chemical differences between these two substances, as well as differences in their use in medical and laboratory settings.

Understanding the differences between serum and plasma is important for accurately interpreting diagnostic test results and for properly using these substances in medical and laboratory settings.

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