Blood plasma is the pale yellow liquid component of blood that normally holds the blood cells in whole blood in suspension; this makes plasma the extracellular matrix of blood cells. It makes up about 55% of the body’s total blood volume. It is the intravascular fluid part of extracellular fluid (all body fluid outside of cells). It is mostly water (up to 95% by volume), and contains dissolved proteins (6–8%) (i.e.—serum albumins, globulins, and fibrinogen), glucose, clotting factors, electrolytes (Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, HCO3−, Cl−, etc.), hormones, and carbon dioxide (plasma being the main medium for excretory product transportation). Plasma also serves as the protein reserve of the human body. It plays a vital role in an intravascular osmotic effect that keeps electrolytes in balanced form and protects the body from infection and other blood disorders.
Blood plasma is prepared by spinning a tube of fresh blood containing an anticoagulant in a centrifuge until the blood cells fall to the bottom of the tube. The blood plasma is then poured or drawn off. Blood plasma has a density of approximately 1025 kg/m3, or 1.025 g/ml.
Blood serum is blood plasma without clotting factors; in other words, “pure” blood. Plasmapheresis is a medical therapy that involves blood plasma extraction, treatment, and reintegration.