The Role of Water in Living Organisms with reference to Hydrogen Bonding (essay)

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Name: Lucy Walters, 13MMU
The Roles of Water in and Around Living Organisms with Reference to
Hydrogen Bonding
An introduction to hydrogen bonding.
Water's role in animals, including hydrolysis in the stomach, its use as a solvent (e.g. in blood
plasma), organ material, regulation of temperature, cushioning of organs/tissues.
Water's role in plants, including the use as a solvent for assimilates in translocation, a
photosynthesis reactant, a temperature and shape regulator.
Water's geographical role in the environment and in climate control, and also in the stabilisation
of proteins.
Water and hydrogen bonding are an essential and vital aspect of life on Earth, without which we would
not be able to survive as we do now; in its role in hydrolysis, transport and homeostasis it is unmatched
by any other molecule. Hydrogen bonding occurs when the weak, partial negative charge at the oxygen
end of a water molecule, and a partial positive charge on the hydrogen end of another water molecule,
experience electronegative attraction. Each water molecule is hydrogen bonded to four others.

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Name: Lucy Walters, 13MMU
Water in Animals
The energy required to break multiple hydrogen bonds causes water to have a high heat of vaporization;
this is invaluable in the homeostasis and temperature regulation of animals, since the evaporation of
sweat utilizes large amounts of heat. Water is also an invaluable building tool in the mammalian and
especially human body, with bones having 22% water composition, and the brain and muscles requiring
75%.…read more

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Name: Lucy Walters, 13MMU
cells together. This gives cells a higher viscosity that helps increase the efficiency of proteins and
In a dehydrated cell, the metabolism is greatly impaired. Dehydration profoundly effects the movement
of lymph through the body and causes the lymph system to clog up and malfunction.
The polar nature of water, with its partial positive and partial negative dipole, allows it to dissolve
charged molecules (ions) easily. Water is thus an excellent solvent for charged compounds.…read more

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Name: Lucy Walters, 13MMU
extremely suitable fluid medium for dissolved carbon dioxide and proteins in blood plasma (blood is 92%
Its fluidity is also central in the cushioning of vital organs and joints; numerous chronic and painful
conditions, including arthritis and fibromyalgia, can often be significantly reduced after adequate
In the stomach, hydrolysis reactions involving water break down complex polymers of lipids,
carbohydrates and proteins present in food into less complex molecules which the body can use.…read more

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Name: Lucy Walters, 13MMU
Water in Plants
Possibly the most important application of water in plants is in the conversion of light energy into
chemical energy during photosynthesis, in which water is one of the crucial reactants:
Water + Carbon dioxide Oxygen + Glucose
6H2O + 6CO2 6O2 + C6H12O6
This reaction is the basis of life for all plants, without which they would not be able to survive.…read more

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Name: Lucy Walters, 13MMU
Maintaining plant temperature; the evaporation of water from the spongy mesophyll layer of
the leaves draws on heat energy, which helps to keep the plant cool.
The creation of a `water column'; this means that water can be used as a fluid vector for
dissolved solutes. Forces of adhesion and cohesion attract water molecules to each other and
the walls of the xylem, thus pulling water up the walls of the aforesaid vessels. Without this
there would be no transpiration stream.…read more

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Name: Lucy Walters, 13MMU
The hydrogen bonds that form between water molecules account for some of the essential -- and
unique -- properties of water.
The attraction created by hydrogen bonds keeps water liquid over a wider range of
temperature than is found for any other molecule its size.
Moderating temperature shifts in the ecosystem (which is why the climate is more moderate
near large bodies of water like the ocean).…read more

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Name: Lucy Walters, 13MMU
blowing over these currents. The Gulf Stream and its northern extension towards Europe, the North
Atlantic Drift, for example, warms the atmosphere of the British Isles and north-western Europe, and the
cold water currents contribute to heavy fog off the coast of eastern Canada (the Grand Banks area) and
the north-western coast of Africa.…read more


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