ZIMSEC O Level Biology Notes:Properties and Biological significance of water

Property: Polar solvent

  • Water is an excellent solvent for ions and polar molecules because the water molecules attract to them, collect and separate them.
  • This is what happens when a substance dissolves in water.
  • Once a chemical is in solution, it is free to move about and react with other chemicals.
  • Most processes in living organisms take place in solution.
  • Non-polar molecules like lipids are insoluble in water.
  • If surrounded by water they tend to repel/ push away forming micelles.

Biological role of this property

  • This is important in hydrophobic interactions in protein structure and membrane structure by increasing the stability of these structures.

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