The Properties of Water and It's Significance to Living Processes Essay examples

The Properties of Water and It's Significance to Living Processes Essay examples

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Water typically forms 70 to 95% of the mass of a eukaryotic cell.
Although it is a simple molecule, water has the ideal properties to
support life.

A water molecule consists of one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms. Each
hydrogen atom shares electrons with the oxygen to form covalent bonds,
but the electrons are not shared equally. Oxygen has greater
electronegativity so has a greater pull on the electron causing the
electrons to move away slightly from the hydrogen atoms. Therefore the
water molecule has slightly positive and slightly negative regions,
which makes it a dipolar molecule


Small positive charge ( +)

Small negative charge ( -)



The small charges on water molecules cause attraction between them.
These forces of attraction are called hydrogen bonding, which gives
water its unique properties. The hydrogen bonding makes water
molecules difficult to separate. A greater amount of energy is needed
to break the hydrogen bonds to convert water into a gas than is needed
for similar compounds such as hydrogen sulphide (H2S).


The fact that water is a dipolar molecule means that it is an
excellent solvent. It is often called the universal solvent since so
many things can dissolve in it. The water molecules will be attracted
to the substance molecules, will collect around it and will separate
it. Polar and ionic substances have and electrostatic charge so will
dissolve in water (they are hydrophilic). Non-polar substances, such
as fats, have no molecular charge so will not dissolve (they are
hydrophobic) which makes them ideal structural molecules in membranes

... middle of paper ...

...It provides strength and
support as well as helping to form the shape.

Including photosynthesis, water also takes part in many chemical
reactions. It is a raw material for photosynthesis and it also takes
part in the digestion of substances such as proteins and lipids by
hydrolysis reactions.

Most organic substances in cells appear in their hydrated form. If the
water was to be removed, their chemical and physical properties would
be affected.

Water is essential to life for many reasons, some of which have been
discussed. Sometimes, however, there is an advantage to living tissue
to become dehydrated. Dehydration in reproductive structures such as
pollen and seeds ensures that they can survive periods of water

Overall water plays a very significant role in life processes in most

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