Biological Significance of Carbohydrates


What is Biological Significance?

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The significance of carbohydrates to living things cannot be overstated. Most animals as well as plants have both carbohydrate and lipid energy stores in nature; carbohydrates are generally available as an immediate energy source, whereas lipids act as a long-term energy resource and are used at a slower rate. Glucose, the most common uncombined, or free, sugar found in the blood of higher animals, is required for cell function. The proper regulation of glucose metabolism is critical for survival.


Ruminants, such as cattle, sheep, and goats, can convert polysaccharides found in grass and similar feeds into protein, providing a significant source of protein for humans. Let’s name a number of important antibiotics, such as streptomycin, are carbohydrate derivatives. Plants' cellulose is used to make paper, wood for construction, and fabrics.


In this article we are going to discuss the biological importance of sodium and potassium, biological importance of lipids, biological significance of water, and the significance of spermatogenesis.


Biological Importance of Sodium and Potassium

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Sodium's Importance - In humans, sodium regulates blood volume, blood pressure, osmotic balance, and maintains a constant pH. The renin–angiotensin system is a hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance, and it influences the amount of sodium in the body.

Let us investigate the biological significance of sodium! The following points will explain the significance of sodium.

  • Sodium ions are mostly found inside human cells, particularly nerve cells. They control how much water flows across the membrane.

  • They are required for the transportation of sugars and amino acids into cells.

  • Sodium keeps the electrolyte balance in the body in check.

  • Pickling uses sodium salts such as sodium chloride as a preservative.

  • A normal serum sodium level is between 135 and 145 mmol/L. Hyponatremia is defined as a drop in sodium levels in blood plasma below a reference value. Hyponatremia causes headaches, nausea, coma, seizures, and other symptoms. 

Importance of Potassium - Potassium is essential for the regulation of cellular electrolyte metabolism, electric signalling in cells, nutrient transport, as well as enzymatic analysis. It, along with other ions (such as sodium and chloride ions), contributes to the overall electrolyte balance of nearly all living organisms.

Let’s list down the biological significance of Potassium-

  1. Potassium ions are mostly found inside cells.

  2. The osmolarity (the concentration of a solution expressed as the total number of solute particles per litre) of the cell is maintained by potassium ions. They also control the stomata's opening and closing.

  3. Certain enzymes, such as pyruvate kinase, require potassium ions as cofactors.

  4. Potassium is essential for heart function, as well as skeleton and muscle contraction.

  5. Diets with low potassium leads to hypertension.

  6. It maintains the electrolyte balance in the body.

Biological Significance of Lipids

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Lipids are required for all life on Earth to exist. They play a variety of critical roles in an organism's health. Lipids serve as the building blocks of cellular membranes, which is arguably their most important function. Energy storage, insulation, cellular communication, and protection are some of the other functions.

Storage of Energy

Lipids play an important role in energy storage. If an animal consumes an excessive amount of energy, the energy can be stored in fat molecules for later use.

Because of our mobile lifestyles, fat molecules can store a large amount of energy for their size, which is important for animals.


Fats are necessary for heat insulation. Marine mammals like seals, dolphins, and whales are perfect examples of how fats can provide insulation. Many marine mammals have a thick layer of fat called 'blubber' to keep them warm in order to prevent them from freezing to death in water.

Blubber covers their entire bodies with the exception of their fins and heads, preventing water from cooling their internal body temperature.

Significance of Spermatogenesis

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Let us examine the significance of spermatogenesis. Spermatogenesis generates mature male gametes known as spermatozoa, which are capable of fertilising the counterpart female gamete, the oocyte, during conception to produce a single-celled individual known as a zygote.

Biological Significance of Water

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Let us investigate the biological significance of water. Water helps to form the membranes that surround cells. Every cell on Earth is surrounded by a membrane, the majority of which is made up of two layers of molecules known as phospholipids. Like water, phospholipids have two distinct components: a polar "head" and a nonpolar "tail." As a result, the polar heads interact with water, whereas the nonpolar tails try to avoid water and instead interact with each other.

Phospholipids spontaneously form bilayers with the heads facing outward towards the surrounding water and the tails facing inward, excluding water, in search of these favourable interactions. The bilayer surrounds cells and allows substances such as salts and nutrients to enter and exit the cell selectively. The interactions that occur during membrane formation are strong enough that the membranes form spontaneously and are not easily disrupted. Without water, cell membranes would lack structure, and cells would be unable to keep important molecules inside the cell and harmful molecules outside the cell.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Question 1. What is the Biological Importance of Colloids?

Answer. Colloids are microscopic particles ranging in size from 1 to 0.01 m. Because of their small size, they are influenced by Brownian motion and minor currents in the bulk of the solution and do not settle out of suspensions. Colloids are important in the transfer of nutrients and pollutants in the environment over both short and long distances. Colloids, for example, can transport nutrients such as phosphate through soil channels to deeper horizons as well as much longer distances in surface waters. Colloids can be known as the primary vehicle for the transport of chemical species that are strongly bound to soil. Understanding and accurately modelling the relevant processes requires knowledge of both the physical and chemical composition of environmental colloids involved in nutrient and pollutant transport.

Question 2. What is the Significance of Lipids?

Answer. Lipids play an important role in energy storage. If an animal consumes an excessive amount of energy, the energy can be stored in fat molecules for later use.

Because of our mobile lifestyles, fat molecules can store a large amount of energy for their size, which is important for animals.