Homework Help

A property of water in a biological systems is that it is a Buffer,what does this...

user profile pic

unicellularal... | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 22, 2011 at 8:47 PM via web

dislike 2 like

A property of water in a biological systems is that it is a Buffer,what does this mean? i.e what is the role of a buffer in blood(plasma) & water

I'm just trying to understand why the role of a buffer is important in relation to water and blood in a biological system

What does it do? why and how? O.O

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

evelynguy3 | Middle School Teacher | eNoter

Posted September 22, 2011 at 10:38 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

A buffer is a solution of a weak acid in the presence of its salt. The pH of a body is important to keeping cells alive. The buffer helps to keep the pH constant, thus keeping the cells alive. Ionized hydrogen causes a drop in pH, a drastic one. The buffer keeps this from becoming so great as to be a problem.

user profile pic

pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted September 26, 2011 at 12:32 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

Because water is made of hydrogen and oxygen, it can dissolve to release both hydroxide (basic) and hydronium (acidic) ions, making it a natural buffer solution. This means that water can neutralize to some extent either an acid or a base; additionally, water is an excellent diluent for both acids and bases.

It's very important for blood and other body fluids to remain at a stable and correct pH. This allows various enzymes and other proteins to keep their correct structures, as pH extremes are likely to denature them and make them nonfunctional.

Water is also an excellent temperature buffer, as it is able to absorb a good amount of energy without experiencing a large temperature swing. This is equally important for protein structure.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes