pH and its Importance

The pH (hydrogen ion potential) of a solution is defined as pH = - log10 (H+) , where (H+) is the hydrogen ion concentration. pH scale (from potential of Hydrogen) is the logarithm of the reciprocal of hydrogen- ion concentration in gram atoms per litre and provides a measure 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 is more acidic). When pH goes off microbes in the blood can change shape, mutate, become pathogenic, constructive enzymes turn destructive, oxygen delivery to cells suffer, mineral assimilation can get thrown off and organs of your body can become compromised, like your heart or brain. The pH balance of the human bloodstream is recognized by all medical physiology texts as one of the most important biochemical balances in all of human body chemistry. All biochemical reactions and electrical (life) energy are under pH control. The higher (more alkaline) the pH of a substance or solution, the more electrical resistance that substance or solution holds. Therefore, electricity travels slower with higher pH. Ideally, the pH of the blood should be maintained at 7.4. If the pH drops below 6.8 or rises above 7.8, death may occur. Buffers in the blood to protect against large changes in pH. If, for instance, the pH of the blood and external fluid is too low (too many H+ ions), then an excess of H+ ions will enter the cell. In order to maintain the proper chemical composition inside the cells, the chemical composition of the fluids outside the cells must be kept relatively constant (homeostasis). The most important way that the pH of the blood is kept relatively constant is by buffers dissolved in the blood. By far the most important buffer for maintaining acidbase balance in the blood is the carbonic-acid-bicarbonate buffer. It is the kidneys that ultimately remove (from the body) H+ ions and other components of the pH buffers that build up in excess. The increased-breathing response to exercise helps to counteract the pHlowering effects of exercise by removing CO2, a component of the principal pH buffer in the blood.

pH Measurement – Conventional methods : Conventional techniques of pH measurement include measurement using pH strips and pH electrodes. With pH strips, pH is measured as a change in the colour of the strip. However, pH strips suffer from poor resolution and poor sensitivity. Again, real time measurement is not possible with pH strips. pH electrodes uses Ag/AgCl electrodes, offer better resolution and are more reliable. However, pH electrodes are made of glass and are fragile. They have a comparatievely larger size and suffer from less sensitivity .

Substance pH – A Comparision MATERIAL pH Value Lemon juice 2.4 Cola Vinegar Orange Beer Acid Rain Coffee Tea Milk Pure Water Blood  Seawater Hand soap Bleach 2.5 2.9 3.5 4.5 <5.0 5.0 5.5 6.5 7.0 7.34 – 7.45 7.7 – 8.3 9.0 – 10.0 12.5

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