DRINKING WATER (POTABLE WATER):
Water in three states: liquid, solid (ice), and gas (invisible water vapor in the air). It also exists as snow, fog, dew and cloud. Clouds are accumulations of water droplets, condensed from vapor-saturated air.
Water is a transparent fluid which forms the world’s streams, lakes, oceans and rain, and is the major constituent of the fluids of living things. As a chemical compound, a water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms that are connected by covalent bonds.
Water covers some 70% of the Earth’s surface. Approximately 97.2% of it is saline, just 2.8% fresh. The majority of water on Earth is sea water.
The human body contains from 55% to 78% water, depending on body size. To function properly, the body requires between one and seven liters of water per day to avoid dehydration. The precise amount depends on the level of activity, temperature, humidity, and other factors.
Water fit for human consumption is called drinking water or potable water. Water that is not potable may be made potable by filtration or distillation, or by a range of other methods.
Drinking water (or potable water) is water safe enough to be consumed by humans or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the tap water supplied to households, commerce and industry meets the water quality potability standards, even though only a very small proportion is actually consumed or used in food preparation.
Water may require purification for human consumption. This may involve removal of undissolved substances, dissolved substances and harmful microbes. Popular methods are filtering with sand which only removes undissolved material, while chlorination and boiling kill harmful microbes. Distillation does all three functions. More advanced techniques exist, such as reverse osmosis. Desalination of abundant sea water is a more expensive solution used in coastal arid climates.
Water has been detected in interstellar clouds within our galaxy, the Milky Way. Water probably exists in abundance in other galaxies, too, because its components, hydrogen and oxygen, are among the most abundant elements in the universe. Based on models of the formation and evolution of the Solar System and that of other star systems, most other planetary systems are likely to have similar ingredients.
Water is present as vapor in:
Atmosphere of the Sun – in detectable trace amounts
Atmosphere of Mercury – 3,4%, and large amounts of water in Mercury’s exosphere
Atmosphere of Venus – 0,002%
Earth’s atmosphere: ~0,40% over full atmosphere
Atmosphere of Mars – 0,03%
Atmosphere of Jupiter – 0,0004% – in ices only
Atmosphere of Saturn – in ices only
Atmosphere of Uranus – in trace amounts below 50 bar
Atmosphere of Neptune – found in the deeper layers.
Reduction of waterborne diseases and development of safe water resources is a major public health goal in developing countries.
Water is the chemical substance with chemical formula H2O: one molecule of water has two hydrogen atoms covalently bonded to a single oxygen atom.
Water is a good polar solvent and is often referred to as the universal solvent. Substances that dissolve in water, salts, sugars, acids, alkalis, and some gases – especially oxygen and carbon dioxide (carbonation) – are known as hydrophilic (water-loving) substances. All of the components in cells (proteins, DNA and polysaccharides) are dissolved in water, deriving their structure and activity from their interactions with the water.
Water boiling point is (set to 100 °C) and melting point is (set to 0 °C).
The boiling point of water is dependent on the barometric pressure. For example, on the top of Mount Everest water boils at 68 °C (154 °F), compared to 100 °C (212 °F) at sea level at a similar latitude. Conversely, water deep in the ocean near geothermal vents can reach temperatures of hundreds of degrees and remain liquid.
During cooling water becomes more dense until reaching 3.98 °C. Below this temperature, the open structure of ice is gradually formed in the low temperature water. As water is cooled there are two competing effects:
1) decreasing volume
2) increase overall volume of the liquid as the molecules begin to orient into the organized structure of ice.
Between 3.98 °C and 0 °C, the second effect will cancel the first effect so the net effect is an increase of volume with decreasing temperature.
Water is also central to acid-base neutrality and enzyme function. An acid, a hydrogen ion (H+, that is, a proton) donor, can be neutralized by a base, a proton acceptor such as a hydroxide ion (OH-) to form water. Water is considered to be neutral, with a pH (the negative log of the hydrogen ion concentration) of 7. Acids have pH values less than 7 while bases have values greater than 7.
FOOD / COOKING:
Some health authorities have suggested at least eight glasses (240 ml), of water are required by an adult per day (189 ml). The British Dietetic Association recommends 1,8 litres.
Pure H2O is tasteless and odorless. Water can dissolve many different substances, giving it varying tastes and odors. Humans, and other animals, have developed senses that enable them to evaluate the potability of water by avoiding water that is too salty or putrid.
Boiling, steaming, and simmering are popular cooking methods that often require immersing food in water or its gaseous state, steam. Water also plays many critical roles within the field of food science. It is important for a food scientist to understand the roles that water plays within food processing to ensure the success of their products.
MEDICINE / HEALTH:
Fluid balance is key. Profuse sweating can increase the need for electrolyte (salt) replacement.
Fluid losses occur continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health.
Safe drinking water is essential to humans and other lifeforms even though it provides no calories or organic nutrients.
The drinking water contribution to mineral nutrients intake is also unclear. Inorganic minerals generally enter surface water and ground water via storm water runoff or through the Earth’s crust. Treatment processes also lead to the presence of some minerals. Examples include calcium, zinc, manganese, phosphate, fluoride and sodium compounds.
There are a variety of trace elements present in virtually all potable water, some of which play a role in metabolism. For example sodium, potassium and chloride are common chemicals found in small quantities in most waters, and these elements play a role in body metabolism. Other elements such as fluoride, while beneficial in low concentrations, can cause dental problems and other issues when present at high levels.
All known forms of life depend on water. Water is vital both as a solvent in which many of the body’s solutes dissolve and as an essential part of many metabolic processes within the body. Metabolism is the sum total of anabolism and catabolism.
In anabolism, water is removed from molecules (through energy requiring enzymatic chemical reactions) in order to grow larger molecules (starches, triglycerides and proteins for storage of fuels and information).
In catabolism, water is used to break bonds in order to generate smaller molecules (glucose, fatty acids and amino acids to be used for fuels for energy use or other purposes). Without water, these particular metabolic processes could not exist.
Water is fundamental to photosynthesis and respiration. Photosynthetic cells use the sun’s energy to split off water’s hydrogen from oxygen. Hydrogen is combined with CO2 (absorbed from air or water) to form glucose and release oxygen. All living cells use such fuels and oxidize the hydrogen and carbon to capture the sun’s energy and reform water and CO2 in the process (cellular respiration).
Drinking water helps maintain the balance of body fluids. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.
Through the posterior pituitary gland, human brain communicates with kidneys and tells it how much water to excrete as urine or hold onto for reserves.
Water helps human kidneys. Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine. When human getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.
Water can help control calories. For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.
Water helps energize muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer.
Water helps maintain normal bowel function. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation.
BEAUTY / COSMETICS:
Water helps keep skin looking good. Human skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. Dehydration makes body and face skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration.
Water is considered a purifier in most religions. Faiths that incorporate ritual washing (ablution) include Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, the Rastafari movement, Shinto, Taoism, and Wicca.
Immersion (or aspersion or affusion) of a person in water is a central sacrament of Christianity (where it is called baptism).
In addition, a ritual bath in pure water is performed for the dead in many religions including Islam and Judaism. In Islam, the five daily prayers can be done in most cases after completing washing certain parts of the body using clean water.
In Shinto, water is used in almost all rituals to cleanse a person or an area.
The Ancient Greek philosopher Empedocles held that water is one of the four classical elements along with fire, earth and air, and was regarded as the ylem, or basic substance of the universe. Thales, who was portrayed by Aristotle as an astronomer and an engineer, theorized that the earth, which is denser than water, emerged from water.
“There is nothing in the world more soft and weak than water, and yet for attacking things that are firm and strong there is nothing that can take precedence of it – for there is nothing (so effectual) for which it can be changed.”
Guanzi in “Shui di“.
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