Uses of Water

Uses of Water

Section: Water for Metabolic Processes

  • Water acts as a medium for chemical reactions in the body, carrying substances to where they are needed for these reactions to take place.
  • In the process of hydrolysis, water is used to break chemical bonds in complex molecules, such as proteins into amino acids, or starch into glucose.
  • Water is involved in photosynthesis, where it is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen by plants to form oxygen and glucose.

Section: Water as a Transport Medium

  • Blood, which is over 80% water, is crucial for transporting substances around the body, such as oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and waste.
  • In plants, water in the xylem tissue carries mineral ions from the roots to the rest of the plant.
  • The phloem transports the products of photosynthesis (sugars) dissolved in water from leave to their growth areas or storage locations.

Section: Water for Temperature Regulation

  • Water absorbs, distributes and releases heat, helping to regulate the body’s temperature.
  • When the body overheats, sweat evaporates from the skin’s surface, removing heat and cooling the body.
  • Likewise, in plants, water can be transpired from leaves, releasing heat and reducing over-heating.

Section: Water as a Habitat

  • Many organisms live in water, relying on its properties – such as transparency for photosynthesis, buoyancy for support, and heat capacity for stable temperatures.
  • Water is necessary for the life processes of microorganisms and for the spread of diseases.
  • A supply of clean, fresh water is essential to human and animal health. In contrast, stagnant or dirty water can be a breeding ground for disease-carrying organisms.

Section: Water in Supporting Structures

  • Water is stored in plant cells’ vacuoles to make them turgid and support the plant.
  • Water also helps maintain the shape of cells and tissues in our body.
  • The synovial fluid in our joints, which is largely water, serves to lubricate and cushion against shock.