The bioelements are chemical elements that are present in the body of living beings or that can be part of it. There are approximately thirty and are classified in:
They are oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen. They constitute approximately 95% of the mass of living beings. This means that almost every animal body is formed by these four elements.
One of the characteristics of these elements is that they can form covalent chemical bonds between atoms, which are very stable bonds. Moreover, due to the characteristics of these elements, their compounds dissolve in water, thus facilitating the occurrence of chemical reactions necessary to life.
There is no relation between the abundance of an element and its importance, for there are elements that are indispensable, even in very small quantities, for example to cause a chemical reaction to occur.
They are calcium, phosphorus, chlorine, potassium, sulfur, sodium and magnesium. They comprise about 4% of the mass of living organisms, are located in several places and perform varied functions. For example, calcium is part of bones, while magnesium is present in plant chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for photosynthesis.
They are present in very small quantities, but they perform essential functions in living beings. The main ones are iron, copper, zinc, silicon, iodine, magnesium and fluorine.
The most important is iron, which is present in hemoglobin in the blood, a substance that has the function of transporting oxygen gas to the cells of higher animals.
Organic and inorganic compounds
The bioelements combine to form the biomolecules , that is, the compounds that integrate the body of living beings. Biomolecules are classified into two major groups: inorganic and organic.
- Inorganic compounds are water and mineral salts. Water constitutes 65-95% of the mass of living beings and is therefore the most abundant biomolecule. In water, the remaining biomolecules dissolve, and biochemical reactions occur in the medium. The mineral salts are, above all, chlorides, carbonates and phosphates of calcium, sodium, potassium, iron and other minerals. They do not exceed 1% of the mass of living beings, but they are essential to life.
- Organic compounds are substances derived from carbon. These substances are found mainly in living beings and are therefore called organic substances.