Friday, 16 November 2012

2.1 The Life Processes Of Humans

2.1 The life processes of humans

a. breathing

b. defecation

c. excretion

d. respond to stimuli

e. reproduction 

2.1.1 Breathing

Humans need a continuous supply of oxygen for cellular respiration, and they must get rid of excess carbon dioxide, the poisonous waste product of this process.  Gas exchange supports this cellular respiration by constantly supplying oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.  The oxygen we need is derived from the Earth's atmosphere, which is 21% oxygen. This oxygen in the air is exchanged in the body by the respiratory surface. In humans, the alveoli in the lungs serve as the surface for gas exchange.
Gas exchange in humans can be divided into five steps:
  1. Breathing
  2. External Respiration
  3. Gas Transport
  4. Internal Respiration
  5. Cellular Respiration 
Other factors involved with respiration are:
  • Adaptations of Diving Mammals
  • Bohr Shift
  • Control of Breathing
  • Partial Pressure
  • Structure of Respiratory System

    Structure of the Human Respiratory System

    Usually air will enter the respiratory system through the nostrils.  The nostrils then lead to open spaces in the nose called the nasal passages.  The nasal passages serve as a moistener, a filter, and to warm up the air before it reaches the lungs.  The hairs existing within the nostrils prevents various foreign particles from entering.  Different air passageways and the nasal passages are covered with a mucous membrane.  Many of the cells which produce the cells that make up the membrane contain cilia.  Others secrete a type a sticky fluid called mucus.  The mucus and cilia collect dust, bacteria, and other particles in the air.  The mucus also helps in moistening the air.  Under the mucous membrane there are a large number of capillaries.  The blood within these capillaries helps to warm the air as it passes through the nose.  The nose serves three purposes.  It warms, filters, and moistens the air before it reaches the lungs.  You will obviously lose these special advantages if you breath through your mouth.
     Air travels from the nasal passages to the pharynx, or more commonly known as the throat. When the air leaves the pharynx it passes into the larynx, or the voice box.  The voice box is constructed mainly of cartilage, which is a flexible connective tissue.  The vocal chords are two pairs of membranes that are stretched across the inside of the larynx.  As the air is expired, the vocal chords vibrate.  Humans can control the vibrations of the vocal chords, which enables us to make sounds.  Food and liquids are blocked from entering the opening of the larynx by the epiglottis to prevent people from choking during swallowing.
    The larynx goes directly into the trachea or the windpipe.  The trachea is a tube approximately 12 centimeters in length and 2.5 centimeters wide.  The trachea is kept open by rings of cartilage within its walls.  Similar to the nasal passages, the trachea is covered with a ciliated mucous membrane.  Usually the cilia move mucus and trapped foreign matter to the pharynx.  After that, they leave the air passages and are normally swallowed.  The respiratory system cannot deal with tobacco smoke very keenly. Smoking stops the cilia from moving.  Just one cigarette slows their motion for about 20 minutes.  The tobacco smoke increases the amount of mucus in the air passages.  When smokers cough, their body is attempting to dispose of the extra mucus.
    Around the center of the chest, the trachea divides into two cartilage-ringed tubes called bronchi.  Also, this section of the respiratory system is lined with ciliated cells.  The bronchi enter the lungs and spread into a treelike fashion into smaller tubes calle bronchial tubes.  
    The bronchial tubes divide and then subdivide.  By doing this their walls become thinner and have less and less cartilage.  Eventually, they become a tiny group of tubes called bronchioles.
    Each bronchiole ends in a tiny air chamber that looks like a bunch of grapes.  Each chamber contains many cup-shaped cavities known as alveoli.  The walls of the alveoli, which are only about one cell thick, are the respiratory surface.  They are thin, moist, and are surrounded by several numbers of capillaries.  The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between blood and air occurs through these walls.  The estimation is that lungs contain about 300 million alveoli. Their total surface area would be about 70 square meters.  That is 40 times the surface area of the skin.  Smoking makes it difficult for oxygen to be taken through the alveoli.  When the cigarette smoke is inhaled, about one-third of the particles will remain within the alveoli.  There are too many particles from smoking or from other sources of air pollution which can damage the walls in the alveoli.  This causes a certain tissue to form.  This tissue reduces the working area of the respiratory surface and leads to the disease called emphysema.

2.1.2 Defecation

  • humans need to defecate at regularly (at least twice a week)
  • humans defecate to remove the indigested food materials from the body.
  • faeces are solid materials which cannot be digested by the body.
  • the remnants of undigested food in the body can cause diseases. If the material are not removed from the body, they can turn toxic and harm the body, causing us to fill ill.
  • therefore humans need to get rid of the undigested food materials to stay healthy.

2.1.3 Excretion

Excretion is the removal of toxic materials, the waste products of metabolism and substance in excess of requirements from organisms. Metabolism is chemical reactions taking place inside cells, including respiration.

The body excretes three main waste materials. These are Carbon Dioxide, Urea and Water. Excretion is a very important feature to us because without it toxic substances will build up in our bodies and kill us. It also helps in maintaining the composition of body fluids.

The Excretory System of humans is made up of 4 structures: Two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and the urethra. The kidneys act as a filter to filter the waste products from the blood, the ureters are tubes that transport the main waste products (urine) from the kidneys to the bladder, where it is stored until it is excreted out of the body through the urethra.

2.1.4 Respond to stimuli

2.1.5 Reproduction