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Water is essential to life. All life on earth started in water, and
chances are that it will also end there. Even though it sounds crazy,
the human body is made up of nearly 70% water. In some plants and
fish, this percentage can reach more than 90. There are many reasons
why water is so important to all living organisms.
Metabolic role of water -
Hydrolysis: Hydrolysis is the reaction of a compound with water,
usually resulting in the formation of one or more new compounds.
Hydrolysis is an important reaction in plants and animals. The action
of certain enzymes allows the hydrolysis of proteins, fats, oils, and
Medium for chemical reactions: All chemical reactions take place in
some kind of liquid medium.
Diffusion and Osmosis: Water is necessary for osmosis and diffusion to
take place through surfaces, for example in the lungs with oxygen.
Photosynthesis: Water is extremely necessary in photosynthesis.
Water as a solvent -
Water is a good liquid to dissolve other substances into.
Transport: The blood plasma, tissue fluid and lymph is mostly made up
of water. Therefore it is a good place for substances to dissolve, and
then move around the body.
Removal of wastes: Water is used to carry both ammonia and urea, which
are waste products from the body's metabolism.
Secretions: Water is also used to secrete substances in the body. For
example in tears, which mostly consist of water, where snake venoms
have toxins which are in the suspension of water.
Water as a lubricant -
Since water is so soft, it is also commonly used in the body as a
Mucus: Mucus is used in the body to aid movement. It is for example
used in the inner gut wall, to make the "flow" easier.
Synovial fluid: Synovial fluid is used to lubricate vertebrate joints.
Pleural fluid: Pleural fluid is used to lubricate the lungs when
Pericardinal fluid: Pericardinal fluid is used to lubricate the
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"Water as a Good Habitat." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Apr 2019
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Perivisceral fluid: This fluid is used to lubricate the movement of
internal organs, for example the motion of the alimentary canal.
Supporting role of water -
As water has a large cohesive force, which means that the molecules
stick together, water is hard to compress and therefore used to
Hydrostatic skeleton: Water is used to support the medium within
animals, for example the earthworm.
Turgor pressure: Many plants are supported by the osmotic influx of
water into their cells.
Humours of the eye: Water is used to maintain the round shape of the
eyes in vertebrates.
Amniotic fluid: Amniotic fluid is used to support and protect the
fetus of mammals during its development.
Erection of the penis: Erection of the male penis takes place as
blood, a substance that mainly consists of water, 'fills' the organ.
Medium in which to live: Since water provides such good support, and
it is easy to move in, it is used as a habitat by large organisms
which would not be able to live above the see, for example the whale.
Other functions of water:
Temperature control: Evaporation of water is extremely important as it
is used to cool down the body, for example when sweating.
Hearing and balance: Water also plays a big role in the endolymph and
perilymph which helps us keeping our balance and hearing.