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Liquid part of blood (including dissolved chemicals but not the cells and platelets). This straw-coloured fluid serves as the blood's transport medium, helps maintain blood pressure, distributes body heat, and maintains the pH balance in the bloodstream and body. More than 90% consists of water, about 7% proteins, and the rest other substances, including waste products of metabolism. Important plasma proteins include albumin, coagulation factors, and globulins, including gamma globulin and a hormone that stimulates erythrocyte formation. Serum is the liquid part of the blood that remains after clotting.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on plasma, visit Britannica.com.