Biochemistry: The Chemical Composition Of Living Matter
  Home Page | Custom Page  

What is the difference between organic and inorganic compounds?
Organic compounds contain carbon and are large covalently bonded molecules. Some important organic compounds in the body include carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids.

Inorganic compounds do not contan carbon and are simple small molecules. Some of the important inorganic compounds found in the body are water, salts, and some acids and bases.
What are the differences between a salt, an acid, and a base?
Salts are inorganic compounds and they are known as electrolytes. They are electrolytes because they conduct an electrical current in solution. When salts are dissolved in body fluids they easily separate into their ions. The most common salts are those that contain calcium and phosphorus and they are usually found in teeth and bones.

Like salts, acids are also electrolytes. Acids are substances that can release hydrogen ions. Acids are also called proton donors. Acids that are strong ionize completely and liberate all their protons. Acids that are weak ionize incompletely.

Like both salts and acids, bases are also electrolytes. Unlike salts and acids, bases are proton acceptors. Bases are also slippery and bitter tasting.
What salts are important for body functioning and what are their functions?
Many salts have very important roles in the body.

Calcium Flouride is a salt that maintains the elasticity of the tissues in the body.

Calcium Phosphate is important because it makes up the teeth, bones, and gastric juices in the body.

Calcium Sulphate is a blood purifier that is crucial to connective tissues in the body.

Ferric Phosphate is important because it oxygenates the blood.

Potassium Phosphate is a nerve nutrient found in nerve, brain, and blood cells throughout the body.

Potassium Sulphate is important because it oxygenates the skin cells.

Sodium Chloride is a salt that regulates the water distribution throughout the body.

Sodium Sulphate is important to the body because it eliminates excess water.

Why is water important for homeostasis? What are the various roles of water?
Water is important for homeostasis because it has a high heat capacity. Water absorbs and releases large amounts of heat before its temperature changes which prevents the sudden changes in body temperature.

Water is very important to the body and it has many roles. Water is an excellent solvent because of its polarity and it is known as the "Universal solvent".

Water is also an important reactant in many types of chemical reactions.

Water serves as the base for all body lubricants.

Water also serves a protective function. Water forms a cushion around the brain in the form of cerebrospinal fluid. It also surrounds a developing fetus in the form of amniotic fluid.