Aliquid containing protein fragments has quickly stopped bleeding in rodents, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hong Kong University reported Wednesday.

The researchers aren't sure exactly how the liquid works, but "we have found a way to stop bleeding in less than 15 seconds that could revolutionize bleeding control," Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, a research scientist in MIT's department of brain and cognitive sciences, said in a release.

The biodegradable liquid could be very useful to surgeons because they spend upto half their operating time trying to control bleeding.

"The time to perform an operation could potentially be reduced by up to 50 per cent," Ellis-Behnke said.

Liquid contains peptides

The researchers found that a clear liquid containing protein fragments called peptides worked on open wounds inbrain, liver, skin, spinal cord and intestinal tissues of hamsters and rats.

"In almost every one of the cases, we were able to immediately stop the bleeding," said Ellis-Behnke, lead author of the study.

When the liquid is applied to the wound, the peptides assemble into a "nanoscale protective barrier gel" that seals the cut. After the wound heals, the gel eventually breaks down into amino acids, which surrounding cells can use to rebuild tissue.

Mechanism unclear

The exact mechanism of the solutions' action is still unknown, but the researchers believe the peptides interact with the structure that surrounds and supports cells in mammals, called the extracellular matrix.

However, they are confident the process they studied is not like clotting, the body's method of stopping bleeding by producing a plug of platelets.

"Clotting generally takes at least 90 seconds to start, and the researchers found no platelet aggregation, a telltale sign of clotting," MIT said in a release.

The researchers said theliquid can be used inwet environments, andit did notproduce an immune response in test animals.

The study is in the Oct. 10 online edition of Nanomedicine.