As we all know, the air is a gas combination. The atmosphere is composed of several gases. These are nitrogen, oxygen, argon and other trace gases. Because the atmosphere was empty of oxygen around 4.6 billion years ago, there was no life on Earth. Oxygen is abundant in the atmosphere. It is the second most prevalent gas in the atmosphere, necessary for the survival of most living forms on Earth, and may also be present in biomolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids.
Production of Oxygen
Oxygen is created in nature in two different ways. They are:
- Photosynthesis: Photosynthesis is the conversion of light energy by phototrophs into chemical energy. Sugars, which are formed from water and carbon dioxide, are used to store chemical energy.
- Photodissociation: Oxygen molecules are created when sunlight interacts with the water vapour present. As a result of the water cycle, water vapour occurs in the atmosphere. The formation of molecular oxygen can occur as a result of many chemicals depleting the ozone layer.
The oxygen cycle, along with the carbon and nitrogen cycles, is critical to the survival of life on Earth. The oxygen cycle is a biological process that serves to maintain oxygen levels by travelling through the atmosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere. This biogeochemical cycle explains the movement of oxygen gas within the atmosphere, ecosystem, biosphere, and lithosphere. The oxygen cycle and the carbon cycle are inextricably intertwined. The atmosphere is the gaseous layer that exists above the Earth’s surface. The lithosphere, along with the earth’s crust, contains the most oxygen on the planet.
Stages of the Oxygen Cycle
- Photosynthesis is the process through which all green plants make nourishment. Green plants use carbon dioxide, sunshine, chlorophyll, and water to make glucose during photosynthesis. As a byproduct of this mechanism, plants produce oxygen. This oxygen is no longer in the atmosphere. Photodissociation produces oxygen.
- It is the process of aerobic organisms taking oxygen from the environment consuming and utilising oxygen. The body uses oxygen for a variety of metabolic reactions. The availability and utilisation of oxygen are required for several biological processes. Animals breathe oxygen that is produced naturally, which aids in their growth and development.
- Aerobic creatures that have taken in oxygen are now emitting carbon dioxide into the environment. The respiration process includes both inhaling oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. Any activity performed by aerobes requires the expenditure of energy. As a result of respiration, carbon dioxide is created and released into the atmosphere, while carbon dioxide returns to the atmosphere.
Uses of Oxygen
- Humans and other living species utilise oxygen for metabolism and digestion. This mechanism aids in cell formation, glucose breakdown in Glycolysis, Kreb’s Cycle, and biomolecule absorption and synthesis in organisms. Carbon dioxide is exhaled by aerobes as a result of a variety of physiological activities.
- It is a natural phenomenon that takes place in nature. Fungi, bacteria, and insects, as well as saprophytes in the soil, break down dead and rotting organic components in the soil. During the process, they use atmospheric oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.
- It is the process of releasing heat by burning organic matter, wood, or fossil fuels in the presence of oxygen in the atmosphere. The element oxygen is required for combustion. Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.
- The oxidation of metals and alloys induced by extended exposure to ambient oxygen and moisture is known as rusting. When iron is exposed to humid conditions for an extended period of time, iron oxides form around it. During rusting, new compounds form on the metal’s surface.
Importance of Oxygen
- Because humans and animals depend on oxygen for breathing, oxygen is essential for life to exist.
- In combustion, oxygen also plays a critical function.
- It is vital for respiration.
- The majority of the other gases in the air, accounting for more than 21% of the total gases in the air, are physiologically inert nitrogen.
- This means that the human body only consumes roughly a quarter of the oxygen it inhales, leaving plenty for emergency breathing. This is why rescue breathing works: it can provide enough oxygen to sustain life in a non-breathing patient.