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pH and Its Importance

pH and Its Importance

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Published by: sunith_c on Dec 09, 2008
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pH and its Importance
The pH (hydrogen ion potential) of a solution is defined aspH = - log10 (H+) , where (H+) is the hydrogen ion concentration. pHscale (from potential of Hydrogen) is the logarithm of the reciprocal of hydrogen- ion concentration in gram atoms per litre and provides ameasure on a scale from 0 to 14 of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution(where 7 is neutral and greater than 7 is more basic and less than 7 ismore acidic). When pH goes off microbes in the blood can changeshape, mutate, become pathogenic, constructive enzymes turndestructive, oxygen delivery to cells suffer, mineral assimilation can getthrown off and organs of your body can become compromised, like yourheart or brain. The pH balance of the human bloodstream is recognizedby all medical physiology texts as one of the most important biochemicalbalances in all of human body chemistry. All biochemical reactions andelectrical (life) energy are under pH control. The higher (more alkaline)the pH of a substance or solution, the more electrical resistance thatsubstance or solution holds. Therefore, electricity travels slower withhigher pH.Ideally, the pH of the blood should bemaintained at 7.4. If the pH drops below 6.8 or rises above 7.8, deathmay occur. Buffers in the blood to protect against large changes inpH. If, for instance, the pH of the blood and external fluid is toolow (too many H+ ions), then an excess of H+ ions will enter the cell.In order to maintain the proper chemical composition inside thecells, the chemical composition of the fluids outside the cells must bekept relatively constant (homeostasis). The most important way thatthe pH of the blood is kept relatively constant is by buffers dissolvedin the blood. By far the most important buffer for maintaining acid-base balance in the blood is the carbonic-acid-bicarbonate buffer. Itis the kidneys that ultimately remove (from the body) H+ ions andother components of the pH buffers that build up in excess. Theincreased-breathing response to exercise helps to counteract the pH-lowering effects of exercise by removing CO2, a component of theprincipal pH buffer in the blood.
pH Measurement – Conventional methods :Conventional techniques of pH measurement includemeasurement using pH strips and pH electrodes. With pH strips, pHis measured as a change in the colour of the strip. However, pH stripssuffer from poor resolution and poor sensitivity. Again, real timemeasurement is not possible with pH strips. pH electrodes usesAg/AgCl electrodes, offer better resolution and are more reliable.However, pH electrodes are made of glass and are fragile. They havea comparatievely larger size and suffer from less sensitivity .

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