Uses of Water in Living Organisms

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Uses of Water in Living Organisms
Water contains both hydrogen and oxygen, organic compounds found in every living organism. (water drop and water rings image by glgec from Fotolia.com)

The human body is made up of approximately 60 per cent water, as it is in most mammalian organisms, and comprises major parts of the blood serum, tissues and organs. Water is a vital component of all living organisms; it is used for tasks such as regulating chemical reactions, acting as a solvent, eliminating waste materials and maintaining cellular composition. Dehydration, caused from lack of necessary water, can lead to severe medical issues and if prolonged can cause death in plants and animals.

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Osmosis

Osmosis is the process by which water passes from a region of high water concentration to an area of low water concentration through a semipermeable cell membrane. Plants take up water by osmosis which causes plant cells to become more turgid, or stiff and rigid, allowing for plants to stand up on their stems and collect sunlight. In animals, the kidneys regulate the rate of osmosis, allowing for the right amount of water to be absorbed into blood cells so that they don't burst. This water, after entering the cell by process of osmosis, is then transported to the rest of the body as needed to perform complex functions. For animals that live in freshwater, osmosis is vital in ridding the body of excess water, so that they maintain an internally stable pressure. Water is vital to the process of osmosis, which regulates cell size and function within the body.

Metabolism

The term metabolism is used to define the chemical reactions which take place in every cell of all living organisms. These chemical reactions provide energy for bodily processes, such as respiration or breathing, and synthesise new organic material for the body to use in other functions. Metabolic nutrients created during metabolism produce energy for bodily growth and maintenance. Water regulates the chemical reactions in the body that provide for metabolism by moving nutrients, oxygen, antibodies and hormones through the bloodstream and lymphatic system. Without water's role in metabolism, the body would not be able to carry out basic functions of movement, growth, reproduction and development.

Fluid Excretion

Water is vital in bodily fluid excretion, which serves as a method of ridding the body of harmful chemicals and byproducts through the process of detoxification. When water passes through the body and enters the kidneys, it collects by-products that have been filtered from the rest of the body and is excreted through the process of urination. In addition to this, water carries harmful toxins out of the body through the skin when a person sweats. If water is not functioning in the body to rid it of by-products, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and brain function can be disturbed, leading to potential disorders.

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