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Describe and explain the importance of water in living organisms.

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Introduction

Hashim Shah L5 Describe and explain the importance of water in living organisms. Water is a simple molecule. However, the properties of water, it's biological importance and molecular structure make it an extremely important substance for life. It is a very abundant material, over 70% of the earth and up to 90% of a cell is water. Water is a polar molecule. In the covalent bond, the electron pairs are unequally distributed and are closer to the oxygen atom. So the greater number of protons in the oxygen atom, attract electrons in the covalent bond. Therefore, there is a small negative charge on the oxygen atom and so a small positive charge on the hydrogen atom. Consequently, the opposite charges on the two atoms attract each other. These forces of attraction between the hydrogen and oxygen atoms act upon neighboring molecules which then form a 'hydrogen bond'. ...read more.

Middle

Water can also be used as a medium for transportation in organisms, such as in lymph fluid. It can also be used on a much larger scale in the blood. Plasma in the blood is mostly water and is used to carry hormones, food and waste products (such as urea). Similarly it can be used for translocation in plants in which the water is transported from the roots to the leaves. Due to the low viscosity of water, it can be used as an effective lubricant, and so reduces friction to allow easy movement in an organism. For example, water is a main component in the synovial fluid in between joints, and it surrounds many internal organs in the body to give protection and lubrication. One example of this is the amniotic fluid to protect the fetus whilst in the womb. Water is also useful in plant cells because when the cell becomes full of water (through osmosis), it will not burst as the cell becomes turgid, and this is important in the cell as it gives it structure and supports the plant. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is most dense at around 4 ?C, (when it is still a liquid). This is useful because the organisms can live under frozen water as it is liquid and so upholds the habitat, and acts as insulation. The hydrogen bonds hold the water molecules together and a large amount of energy is needed to break these bonds. Therefore, it would be difficult to change the temperature of the water, and this would be useful in an environment, as it would mean that there would be small temperature fluctuations in large bodies of water therefore, enzymes in organisms would not be denatured. In addition, the lower density of water in its solid form allows the conservation of water and grants the circulation of nutrients in large bodies of water (such as the sea). In conclusion, water is vital for life on Earth. It provides a habitat for many organisms and give structure and support to others. Its properties make it a unique molecule and without it, many organisms would find it extremely difficult to survive. ...read more.

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