Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen make up the majority of cells in living organisms. They account for 96% of the atoms in living organisms; hence they are considered important compounds. Depending on how you define “major,” though, other items comprising only a few percent of cells may top the list.
Carbon is likely the most unique of the four since it can form bonds with itself and create molecules in various forms. Carbon molecules can take the form of short chains, long chains, curved chains, branched chains, and rings.
The four types of macromolecules that make life possible (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids) are composed of carbon and the three other major organic elements.
An organic compound is a substance found predominantly in living organisms. Organisms’ cells and other structures are composed of organic substances, which are also responsible for life activities.
Carbon is the most abundant element in organic substances; hence it is vital to life on Earth. Without carbon, there could be no life as we know it.
Hydrogen is necessary for life, the universe, and virtually everything else. Life is extremely dependent on it. Without hydrogen, there would be no Sun to provide heat and light. Without usable organic chemicals, there would be no building blocks of life.
Hydrogen bonding provides water with many of its vital, life-sustaining characteristics and maintains the structures of proteins and DNA, the cell’s structural components.
Oxygen is the isolated molecule capable of acquiring the reactive electron from NADH or FADH2 via hydrogen transporter molecules and transforming it into water. It explains why glucose reactions produce CO2 and water (water)
Without sufficient oxygen molecules for the anaerobic process, no molecules can capture the hydrogen reactive (reactive electron) released by NADH and FADH2.
Therefore, NADH and FADH2 accumulated and stopped the Krebs cycle and the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl-CoA.
Oxygen assists organisms in growing, reproducing, and converting food to energy. Humans get the oxygen they require by inhaling and exhaling via their nose and mouth into their lungs. Oxygen enables our cells to break down food into the vital energy we require to exist.
Nitrogen is a crucial ingredient limiting plant development and output. It is a primary component of chlorophyll, an essential pigment required for photosynthesis, and amino acids, the fundamental building blocks of proteins. It is also present in other vital chemicals, including ATP and nucleic acids.
Nitrogen, the most prevalent element in the Earth’s atmosphere, is indispensable to life. Nitrogen is present in soils, plants, our drinking water, and the air we breathe.
It is also important in life: a crucial building block of DNA, which defines our heredity, is necessary for plant development and, consequently, for cultivating food.
But as with all things, balance is essential: plants cannot survive with insufficient nitrogen, resulting in inadequate agricultural yields; meanwhile, excessive nitrogen is poisonous to plants and can harm the ecosystem.
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