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The Role of Water in Living Organisms

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The Role of Water in Living Organisms

Water is one of the most abundant molecules on planet earth; it is
found in vast amounts not only in earthly enviroments (oceans, lakes
and rivers), but is also present in the atmosphere, and as solid ice
in the two poles. Consequently it is rather logical that water plays
an important role in biological life: the origins of life occurred in
water and life itself wouldn't be able to continue in it's absence .

I will now describe the structure of a water molecule. It consists of
an oxygen atom covalently bonded to two other atoms of hydrogen. The
two bonds form a 105 degrees angle with eachother, but for the reason
that oxygen is more electronegative than hydrogen, the shared electron
charge of the covalent bond is distributed more towards this atom,
making the water molecule weakly polar. Always due to reasons related
to the distribution of the charge water is able to form weak hydrogen
bonds, both to other water molecules and also to many other types of
polar molecules. This is a very essential characteristic, which allows
water to have unique properties.

Water's ability to form weak H-bonds to other polar molecules allows
the anion and the cation of a polar-bonded molecule to separate from
one another, and go into solution. Evene large molecules such as
proteins can form enough H-bonds with water to become soluble, also
the catalytic activity totally depends upon the soluble nature of the
enzyme molecules. Water, takes up a large space in cells, which are
the single components of the human body. This is a physical
demonstration, of how water is essential for life to be happening. The
str...


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...oupled with the "transpirational
pull" generated by evaporation of water from leaves which acts upon
the continuos column of water in xylem tissue, allow water and
dissolved minerals to be supplied to plant tissues up to 100 metres
above the ground.

Another property of water is its transparency to visible light. light
can penetrate water to a considerable depth, provided the water is
free of suspended, particulate matter. Different wavelengths of light
penetrate to different depths. Red and yellow light only travel to a
maximum of 50 metres depth, whilst blue and violet light can reach 100
metres. This allows large volumes of water to serve as habitats for
photosynthetic organisms. On land, light can easily penetrate plant
leaf epidermal tissues, which are 90 % water, to reach the underlying
photosynthetic cells.


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