<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Ph and buffers

The pH of a solution indicates its acidity or alkalinity. The pH scale is, as previously mentioned, an inverse logarithm and ranges from 0 to 14 ( [link] ). Anything below 7.0 (ranging from 0.0 to 6.9) is acidic, and anything above 7.0 (from 7.1 to 14.0) is alkaline. Extremes in pH in either direction from 7.0 are usually considered inhospitable to life. The pH inside cells (6.8) and the pH in the blood (7.4) are both very close to neutral.

The pH scale, which ranges from zero to 14, sits next to a bar with the colors of the rainbow. The pH of common substances are given. These include gastric acid with a pH around one, lemon juice with a pH around two, orange juice with a pH around three, tomato juice with a pH around four, black coffee with a pH around five, urine with a pH around six, distilled water with a pH around seven, sea water with a pH around eight, baking soda with a pH around nine, milk of magnesia with a pH around ten, ammonia solution with a pH around 11, soapy water with a pH around 12, and bleach with a pH around 13.
The pH scale measures the concentration of hydrogen ions (H + ) in a solution. (credit: modification of work by Edward Stevens)

So how can organisms whose bodies require a near-neutral pH ingest acidic and basic substances (a human drinking orange juice, for example) and survive? Buffers are the key. Buffers readily absorb excess H + or OH , keeping the pH of the body carefully maintained in the narrow range required for survival. Maintaining a constant blood pH is critical to a person’s well-being. The buffer maintaining the pH of human blood involves carbonic acid (H 2 CO 3 ), bicarbonate ion (HCO 3 ), and carbon dioxide (CO 2 ). When bicarbonate ions combine with free hydrogen ions and become carbonic acid, hydrogen ions are removed, moderating pH changes. Similarly, as shown in [link] , excess carbonic acid can be converted to carbon dioxide gas and exhaled through the lungs. This prevents too many free hydrogen ions from building up in the blood and dangerously reducing the blood’s pH. Likewise, if too much OH is introduced into the system, carbonic acid will combine with it to create bicarbonate, lowering the pH. Without this buffer system, the body’s pH would fluctuate enough to put survival in jeopardy.

An H2O molecule can combine with a CO2 molecule to form H2CO3, or carbonic acid. A proton may dissociate from H2CO3, forming bicarbonate, or HCO3-, in the process. The reaction is reversible so that if acid is added protons combined with bicarbonate to form carbonic acid.
This diagram shows the body’s buffering of blood pH levels. The blue arrows show the process of raising pH as more CO 2 is produced and exhaled. The purple arrows indicate the reverse process: the lowering of pH as more bicarbonate (HCO 3 ) is generated from the CO 2 being produced by cellular respiration. In short, when more CO 2 is exhaled, blood pH goes up and the blood is more basic, and if CO 2 is converted to bicarbonate, blood pH goes down and the blood is more acidic.

Other examples of buffers are antacids used to combat excess stomach acid. Many of these over-the-counter medications work in the same way as blood buffers, usually with at least one ion capable of absorbing hydrogen and moderating pH, bringing relief to those that suffer “heartburn” after eating. The unique properties of water that contribute to this capacity to balance pH—as well as water’s other characteristics—are essential to sustaining life on Earth.

Enzyme function and buffers

On the cellular level, cells need to maintain a relatively constant internal environment, because many important cellular functions only take place within a narrow of conditions, such as temperature and pH. Enzymes function is influenced by the pH of its environment and only function optimally within a narrow pH range. Losing function of just one enzyme can mean death for a cell, or tissue, or organ or and entire organism. In addition, there are many reactions occurring in a cell that either produces or consumes Hydrogen ions thereby changing the pH of the cells environment. How do cells maintain pH within the range necessary for enzymes to function properly? The answer is buffers, just as learned earlier about your whole body using buffers to maintain its pH.

Questions & Answers

what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
learn
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
learn
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
Hafiz
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Good
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Principles of biology. OpenStax CNX. Aug 09, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11569/1.25
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Principles of biology' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask