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The Importance Of Water To Living Organisms

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Introduction

The Importance Of Water To Living Organisms Water is normally the most abundant component of any living organism. As most human cells are approximately 80% water and 60% of the human body is made up of it, it is extremely important in many different ways to both the survival and the well being of living organisms. Evolutionists believe that life probably originated in water and even today thousands of organisms make their home in it. Water also provides the medium in which all biochemical reactions take place. The importance of water to living organisms originates from its many properties including its solvent properties, its high specific heat capacity, its high latent heat of vaporization, its surface tension, its density and freezing properties, its transparency and its colloid formation. Water has been called a universal solvent and its properties as a solvent depend on the fact that it is a polar molecule: As we can see from the diagram, charge is shared out unequally and so water is said to have 'polarity'. This means that water can weaken the attraction between ions of the opposite charge, because as it has both net positive and net negative charges itself, it attracts both. ...read more.

Middle

A further important property of water is its surface tension. This is the force that causes the surface of a liquid to contract so that it occupies the least possible area. Hydrogen bonding increases the cohesive forces between water molecules and it is this that causes the molecules which are pulled inwards towards each other to form spherical drops rather than spreading out in a layer. It is this inward pull of the water molecules that creates a skin-like layer at the surface. At ordinary temperatures water has the highest surface tension of any known liquid (except mercury). This strong cohesive force that exists between water molecules play an important part in the movement of water up the vessels and tracheids in the stems of plants. Were these forces much weaker, trees could not be so tall. Water's cohesive and adhesive properties also mean that water is viscous, making it a useful lubricant in biological systems. For example, synovial fluid lubricates vertebrate joints and pleural fluid minimizes the friction between lungs and the ribs during breathing. Surface tension also allows the surface film of standing water to support - and provide a habitat for certain aquatic organisms. ...read more.

Conclusion

Their most important feature is the large surface area of contact between the particles and the liquid. Cytoplasm, for example, is a colloid, made up largely of protein molecules dispersed in water. Cytoplasm is an example of a hydrophilic colloid. This is where the particles attract water molecules around them and it is this which prevents them aggregating into large particles which would settle out. The attraction of water by hydrophilic colloids causes them to absorb water in a process called imbibition. It is this process that causes dry seeds initially to absorb water. As we can see water is an extremely complex and diverse molecule with many different properties. I believe that water is extremely important, if not one of the most important molecules, to living organisms. Without it, we, as humans, and all other living organisms could not survive. I think water is important to us as it performs many different functions, it acts as a solvent, it insulates, it provides a habitat for many creatures, it allows aquatic plants to photosynthesise and many other things already mentioned here. Therefore we can say that water is very important to all living organisms. ?? ?? ?? ?? Josie van Kralingen L6HR ...read more.

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