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CHAPTER 2: CHEMICAL BASIS OF LIFE Importance of Chemistry to Biology

MATTER- any substance that occupies space and has mass. -all matter composed atoms. STRUCTURES OF ATOMS

Atoms are made up of 3 types of particles electrons particles have different properties.

, protons

and neutrons

. These

Electrons are tiny, very light particles that have a negative electrical charge (-). Protons are much larger and heavier than electrons and have the opposite charge, protons have a positive charge. Neutrons are large and heavy like protons, however neutrons have no electrical charge. Each atom is made up of a combination of these particles. Let's look at one type of atom: ATOMIC MASS MASS- refers to the amount of of a substance. WEIGHT- refers to the force of gravity exerts on a substance.

ANION-If an atom gains electrons.ATOMIC MASS = P + N Mass of atoms and subatomic particles are measured in unit called DALTON. there's also a hydrogen isotope called deuterium. Light elements tend to have about as many neutrons as protons. In either case. For example. CATION-If an atom loses electrons. tritium. Atoms with a few too many neutrons. . there are "preferred" combinations of neutrons and protons. and another. with two neutrons. heavy elements apparently need more neutrons than protons in order to stick together. in the form of particles or electromagnetic waves. Unstable atoms are radioactive: their nuclei change or decay by spitting out radiation. etc. +2. can sometimes exist for a while. the balance between positive and negative charges is shifted in the opposite direction and the atom becomes positive. at which the forces holding nuclei together seem to balance best. the most common isotope of hydrogen has no neutrons at all. the different possible versions of each element are called isotopes. the electrical charge changes. -1. or not quite enough. ISOTOPES Atoms of the same element can have different numbers of neutrons. the magnitude (+1. IONS Atoms that carry electrical charges are called ions (regardless of whether they are positive or negative). it picks up an imbalance of negatively charged particles and therefore becomes negative. but they're unstable.) of the electrical charge will correspond to the number of electrons gained or lost. with one neutron. -2. When the number of electrons changes in an atom.

anthracite coal and coke are impure forms of carbon. only 11 are found in organisms in more than trace amount . The union of oxygen with fats. Oxygen is a colorless. tasteless. carbohydrates and proteins in the human body results in slow combustion. Carbon with oxygen will burn. when combined with the oxygen of the inhaled air. Carbon combined with other elements in the human body makes about onefifth of the whole weight. of water. and force—muscular strength—for work.DISTRIBUTION OF ELEMENTS Of 92 naturally occuring elements on earth . In this way the carbon taken into the body as food. yields heat to keep the body warm. Our chief supply of oxygen comes directly from the air. It is absolutely essential to life. and without combustion there can be no life. Most abundant elements by mass (a) in the earth's crust and (b) in the human body Importance of function of Elements in Human Body Oxygen is one of the important elements that require greater attention. "lead" of lead pencils. the whole site is otherwise dedicated to this element. odorless gas. . Carbon is a solid: diamonds are nearly pure carbon. for without oxygen there can be no combustion in the human body tissues. which produces heat and energy. of the earth's crust and of our foods. forming a large part of the atmospheric air. but this is supplemented by the intake in food and water.

but if they are taken pure. hence we find from the above calculation that about three-fifths of the human body is composed of water. from which it is taken by plants. phosphorus forms what is known as phosphoric acid. It is what we rely on for internal heat. it is found also in the brain and nerves. Nitrogen is also a colorless. the brain will have sufficient food. tasteless. for the essential part of coal is carbon. bones and protein. but those who eat sea food to make themselves brainy will probably be disappointed. Phosphorus is a solid. All acids contain hydrogen and so does the protoplasm of the human body. It is one of the elements that in some forms is a poison whether taken in solid compounds or inhaled in fumes. This has been proved through experiments in feeding nothing but refined sugar. Hydrogen is a very light gas. in which form it is found in the bones and teeth. sugars and fats. this. It is abundant in the atmospheric air. eggs and meat. In natural foods they are abundantly present. It is the chief producer of energy within the body. there is phosphorus in fish. cereals. legumes and other foods. It is an essential constituent of the human body. In the further study of carbonaceous foods. The compounds of phosphorus are present in fats. living things. According to the table. The carbonaceous substances are needed in greater quantity than any other. In other forms it is indispensable for bodily development. odorless gas. much of the phosphorus is lost. thus serving as fuel. makes phosphate of lime. Hydrogen and oxygen combined form water. Phosphates are necessary for brain development. It is a necessary constituent of all growing. If the rest of the body is well nourished. We get our supply either directly from vegetable foods or from animal products. and if the body is poorly nourished the brain will suffer. they cause starvation more quickly than if no food was eaten. but when these foods are unduly refined. about one pound two ounces would be found in a human body weighing 148 pounds. We get phosphorus from milk. or are soaked in water which is thrown away. as well as for heating our dwellings. The water produced is given off in the respiration through the lungs and as perspiration through the skin. with lime. flesh and blood. eggs. Hydrogen unites with the oxygen of the inhaled air in the body. which is practically pure carbon. being present in all compounds of protein. but those who eat natural foods never need to go to the trouble of taking special foods for the brain.The carbonic acid (or carbon dioxide) is given out through the lungs and skin. . producing phossy jaw. as carbon is the most important fuel element. It is plentifully supplied in water. Salts and nitrogenous foods are essential to life. their relation to the body as fuel will be more clearly understood. being the principal constituent of starches. United with oxygen. such as milk. Of course. taste or color. without odor.

Iodine it is one of the elements. Cobalt is a central component of the vitamin cobalamin. Iodide can function as an antioxidant as it is a reducing species that can detoxify reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide. As sodium chloride. it is taken in great quantities by most people. Although cobalt proteins are less common than proteins containing metals like manganese. The element sulfur is quite inert and harmless. is a white. thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). He who gets enough sodium also gets enough chlorine. but when sprinkled on everything that is eaten. By soaking foods. they are deprived of much of their soda: The two sodium salts that are very abundant are sodium chloride. If but a little is added to the food. forming the chlorides. .Sulfur is present in protein and we get a sufficient supply from milk. which is not found in nature. and therefore we must take it for granted that it is necessary. It is essential to life. Fluorine is present in small quantities in the human body. Its main role in animal biology is as constituents of the thyroid hormones. We need some sulfur. It is very abundant in various rocks. or common table salt. Sulfur dioxide is freely used in the process of drying fruits. The cereals are especially rich in silicon. iron. but there are also a few proteins know in which cobalt is directly coordinated by the protein structure. It is supplied by the various foods. It is found in great abundance in the succulent vegetables. derived from vitamin B12. Methionine aminopeptidase 2 and Nitrile hydratase are two examples of these proteins. as a bleacher. In its elementary form it is a poisonous gas. several proteins are known. In this form it is poisonous. or zinc. Silicon is found in traces in the human body. and for that reason it would be well to avoid bleached dried fruits. or vitamin B12. used for bleaching purposes. meat and legumes. Chlorine is ordinarily combined in our foods with sodium or potash. from watermelons to meat. both of which are used in the manufacture of food. and sodium carbonate.Additionally. Sodium in its elementary state. silvery metal. it does no perceptible harm. which shows that it is not needed in large amounts. but not in the form of sulfur dioxide or concentrated sulfurous acid. but some of its acids and salts are very poisonous. fluoride might have a natural role in preventing tooth decay. In wheat it is found in the bran and is removed from the white flour. it is without doubt harmful. although we are in the dark as to its uses. generally called soda. and is present in practically all foods. Those who have no salt get along well without it. It is supplied in small quantities in nearly all of our foods. the heaviest known to be needed by living organisms. or common salt. Most of the cobalt proteins use a cofactor based on the corrin cobalt. appearing as fluorides in the bones and teeth. In its elementary form it is an irritating gas. Copyright © 1998-1999. Author of "Eating for Health and Efficiency" .edu/physics/2000/isotopes/ Anthony Carpihttp://web.cuny.jjay.http://www. All Rights Reserved http://www. D.html By R. Alsaker. L. M.