Global Aspects of the Biochemistry of the Elements
Life is a product of chemical evolution that took place on the earth, and both life and the biosphere that encompasses it have evolved under the constraints this planet imposes. The biosphere could not exist in the absence of its surroundings—the atmosphere, the hydrophere, and the lithosphere. In other words, life—whether taken as an individual living cell or as the biosphere as a whole—is an open system, constantly interacting with its surroundings. The form that this interaction takes is the exchange of material and energy. Inorganic materials are processed and altered by organisms, and then are returned to the surroundings. In view of these interactions, it is not surprising that a large number of elements are not only processed by organisms but that as many as 30 of them are essential to organisms. Figure 1-1 summarizes the known biological functions of elements. Readers are referred to Frieden (1985a,b) for recent reviews of essential trace elements.
KeywordsPhytic Acid Biogeochemical Cycle Essential Trace Element Banded Iron Formation Global Aspect
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