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6.3 Chemical formulas

By using symbols, elements can be represented much more conveniently and much more briefly. This method of using symbols can be extended to compounds. You will now look further into this idea using a very familiar compound: water. Recall which atoms there are in a water molecule.

Question 24

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2.6.1 (a) Using Lego as a model

In this kind of building set, there are a limited number of types of block and each block has a particular shape. Just as importantly, each one has a particular way in which it can link to other blocks because of the way the studs are arranged.

The blocks can help you see how the atoms link in a molecule of water. Look at Figure 7 where the red brick represents an oxygen atom and the white bricks represent hydrogen atoms. There are only two locations where the hydrogen atoms can join th
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2.6.2 End-of-unit questions

Question 8

Express the following numbers using scientific (powers of ten) notation:

  • (a) 2.1 million

  • (b) 36 000

  • (c) 1/10

  • (d) 0.00005


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5.3 GM Nation? The public debate

The key objective of the national dialogue on GM was to allow the exchange of views and information – members of the public would presumably learn more about the issues; experts and policy makers would learn more of the reasoning behind the public's concerns.

Question 16


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Introduction

This unit is an adapted extract from the course Science in context (S250)

In recent years, scientists have made huge gains in their understanding of how genes can be altered and transferred from one organism to another – but that knowledge has been acquired amidst controversy and concern. The deep ethical concerns that have resulted from the emergence of genetic manipulation are explor
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7 Conclusion

In this unit we have studied animals in the context of their own habitat rather than using the traditional comparative physiology approach of comparing organ systems in different species. Although we have looked at extreme habitats, specifically deserts, it has become clear that, for many species, extreme physiological adaptations are not present and that even endotherms, birds and mammals rely on behavioural strategies, thereby reducing the need for physiological strategies that are costly i
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6.2 The hypothalamus as central regulator

Research in the past 30–40 years has established that the hypothalamus, which lies below the thalamus and above the optic nerve chiasma and the pituitary gland in the brain, fulfils all of the functions listed above, at least in part. The main function of the hypothalamus is homeostasis. Factors such as blood pressure, body temperature, fluid and electrolyte balance, and body weight are held to constant values called the set-points. Although set-points can vary over time, from day to
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5.3 Metabolism

Molecules diffuse more slowly at low temperature: measurements of the rates of diffusion of small molecules such as lactic acid, Ca2+ and analogues of glucose and ATP through fish muscles produced Q10 values of 1.75–2.04 between 5 and 25° C. Nearly all enzyme reactions are slower at low temperatures (although sometimes whole pathways can be faster if an inhibitor is more inhibited by low temperature than are the catalysts). So, in the absence of temperature compensat
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5.2.1 Blood pigments

The solubility of oxygen (and of many other gases) in water increases with decreasing temperature: at 0° C, seawater holds 1.6 times as much oxygen when saturated as at 20° C. This fact, and continual disturbance by frequent storms, mean that the surface waters of polar oceans are very well oxygenated. A family of 17 species of nototheniid fish, the Channichthyidae, have no erythrocytes, no haemoglobin and almost no myoglobin at all stages of the life cycle (Section 1.5).

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4.3 Humans in polar regions

Humans evolved in tropical Africa and gradually colonized colder climates during the Pleistocene ice ages. There have been permanent populations in the Arctic for several thousand years, mostly Inuit (Eskimos) in what are now Canada, Alaska and Greenland, and several groups in northern Europe and Russia, such as the Saami (Lapp) in Scandinavia and the Chukchi in Siberia. Such people do not grow crops and keep only a few domestic animals, mostly for transport (e.g. husky dogs or reindeer), not
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3.5 The structure of adipose tissue

Since food is only available seasonally or intermittently at high latitudes, many arctic birds and mammals, including polar bears, Svalbard reindeer, arctic foxes, seals and walruses, naturally accumulate large stores of fat. The quantity of energy stored and the metabolic control of its use are finely adjusted to the habits and habitat of the species. This section is concerned with the cellular structure and anatomical organization of adipose tissue in such naturally obese species. Most labo
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3.3.1 Dormancy in black and brown bears

The dormant state of bears differs from true hibernation in that the body temperature does not fall below 31–35° C and a major disturbance (such as an intruding biologist) can arouse them to full activity in a few minutes. Dormant bears do not eat, drink, urinate or defaecate, the heart rate drops from 50–60 beats min−1 to 8–12 beats min−1, and oxygen consumption is only 32% of that of actively foraging bears. Nonetheless, the rate of protein turnover, as mea
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4.3.4 Removal of NO

Laboratory experiments have shown that, under the conditions in the catalytic converter, the decomposition of NO to O2 and N2 over noble metal catalysts is too slow to be significant. When the A/F ratio is stoichiometric (or below stoichiometry), NO can be removed by reduction with CO and/or hydrocarbons. For simplicity we shall consider only reduction with CO, as with the oxidation reaction, the situation with hydrocarbons is considerably more complicated.

In prin
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4.3 Exhaust emission characteristics

Before we consider how the three-way catalyst functions in any detail, it is important to understand how the emissions of CO, HC and NOx, from the engine depend on the ratio of air (A) to fuel (F) – the air/fuel ratio (or A/F ratio). The significance of this will become clear when we see that the ratio at which the three-way catalytic converter operates is crucial for its success.

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4.1 Exhaust pollutants

The most important chemical reaction in a petrol engine – that is, the one that provides the energy to drive the vehicle – is the combustion of fuel in air. In an ‘ideal’ system, combustion would be complete so that the only exhaust products would be carbon dioxide and steam. In practice, the complete oxidation of the fuel depends on a number of factors: first, there must be sufficient oxygen present; second, there must be adequate mixing of the petrol and air; and finally, there must
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4.4.1 Phosphorus (P)

Like calcium, phosphorus is important in the structure of bones and teeth. It is vital in the body as part of the molecules ATP and DNA, and is also a component of phospholipids, lipoproteins and many other proteins too. Phosphorus can occur, combined with oxygen, in phosphate ions and in this form it plays an important role in switching on and off metabolic pathways in cells. Phosphorus is widely available in the diet, from both plant and animal sources, such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy pr
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Learning outcomes

After studying this Unit you should know:

  • that certain minerals are required in the body and that some minerals form essential structural components of tissues;

  • that sodium, potassium, calcium and chloride ions are important in maintaining the correct composition of cells and of the tissue fluids around them (homeostasis);

  • that some minerals are essential components of important molecules such as hormones and enzymes;

  • that the correct
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Acknowledgements

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All other materials included in this unit are derived from content originated at the Open University.

1. Join the 200,000 studen
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9 Summary

In this unit you have found out that:

  • The sensation of pain is caused by the release of a chemical (prostaglandin) that stimulates the nerve endings and sends an electrical message to the brain.

  • Pain can be reduced if the formation of prostaglandin can be inhibited.

  • Prostaglandin is formed, from arachidonic acid, in a cavity in the active site of the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX).

  • Geometrical isomerism
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1.8 Enter aspirin!

Aspirin is able to release part of its ester group (Figure 15) in a hydrolysis reaction. Look again at the structure of aspirin, 2.8, and identify this group on the molecule. It is known as an acetyl group and accounts for aspirin also being called acetylsalicylic acid. The acetyl group on aspirin is fairly easily removed and can be available for forming another ester with an —OH group on another molecule; in this case, part of the structure that makes up the inside of the cavi
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