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The Importance of Water in Living Organisms

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Introduction

The Importance of Water To Living Organisms Without doubt water is the most important of all molecules discovered, and undiscovered. Water plays an extraordinarily vital part in the every day life of each living organism; from providing a perfect environment for the reproductive cells of animals, to warning proteins of potential problems in DNA and its solvent characteristics that enable countless chemical reactions to take place. I can hardly give water the commendation it deserves for it is of such phenomenal importance to every living thing on this earth. It is the chemical structure of water that gives it such unique and useful qualities. The water molecule is slightly polarised. This means it has a very slightly negative end - the oxygen atom - and a very slightly positive end - the hydrogen atom . . .this is called a dipole. (Heinemann Advanced Science Biology). The hydrogen and oxygen atoms of different molecules attract and are linked by a hydrogen bond. Alone one hydrogen bond is very weak, but many together are very strong. As water has a dipole it means that many polar and non-polar substances, in particular ionic substances, will dissolve in water. Therefore, it is vitally important in living organisms that water can act as a solvent as all chemical reactions in cells take place in an aqueous solution. ...read more.

Middle

This triggered a chain of events in which fragments of some water molecules and clusters of other interacted to move protons through protein (New Scientist magazine). If water did not help to create proteins then many cells would be useless in a lot of ways. Cells would not be able to carry water-soluble molecules such as glucose for energy, there would be no pumps to move water-soluble molecules and ions in and out of the cell, and cells would have less adhesion to one another. These are just a few ways in which the absence of water in a living cell would be damaging and shows how important it really is. The specific heat capacity for water is unusually high. It takes 4.2 joules of energy to heat 1g of water by 1 degree Celcius (www.biologymad.com). This is of great advantage to cells, aquatic organisms, and the environment in general because it provides an environment that takes a lot of energy to warm up because it is thermally stable. This thermal stability means that aquatic organisms don't have to quickly adjust to their habitat suddenly changing in temperature as the sea and other large bodies of water stay at a remarkable constant temperature. This thermal stability is also seen within the water-based protoplasm of individual cells, and allows the biochemistry of life to be carried out at a fairly constant rate (Heinemann Advanced Science Biology). ...read more.

Conclusion

If DNA is distorted due to some defect it becomes more hydrated and the protein can't make proper contact (Monika Fuxreiter of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Biological Research Centre in Budapest, New Science magazine). This is another reason why water is so important to living organisms; it can prevent serious problems from occurring in cells if DNA has a defect, which could save a whole animal, plant or human being's life. Life depends on water. Plants and animals alike need water survive and it is a vital part of all living organisms and the processes of life. Without water a living organism would not survive because all chemical reactions that take place in a cell are in an aqueous solution. Without water's extraordinary properties aquatic life would not survive, or it would at least be a struggle, as water turns to ice and becomes an insulating layer for under-water life and its high latent heat of fusion prevents the contents of cells freezing to death, not to mention the thermal stability water provides in large bodies of water due to its high heat capacity. It is for certain that water is the most important and valuable part of living organisms as it helps to form protein in cells, a substance that a living cell could not function without, and can even prevent defects and mutations in cells by warning on-coming protein of potentially defected DNA. ...read more.

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