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Transport—dissolved nutrients and gases

Plants and animals transport dissolved nutrients and
gases in a fluid medium

Both plants and animals require a 3. a driving mechanism to ensure

transport system to distribute food that substances move in the correct
and oxygen to active cells and to direction.
remove carbon dioxide and any Plants produce their own food in
other waste products that may leaves and this food must be carried,
accumulate. in a dissolved form, to all parts of the
Unicellular organisms and small plant. Chemical substances that are
multicellular organisms rely on the needed for photosynthesis (such as
processes of diffusion, osmosis and water and dissolved salts) must be
active transport of substances directly carried from the roots, where they enter
between the surface of the organism the plant, to the leaves where they will
and the environment. However, in most be used (see Fig. 2.23 on page 65).
multicellular organisms, transport of The transport tissue in plants is known
substances in this way is not adequate, as the vascular tissue and consists of
due to their large surface area:volume xylem and phloem. (The term vascular
ratio. The distance that substances means composed of vessels.)
must move between the centre of the In animals, transport of chemicals
body of a large organism and its outer occurs in a fluid medium (such as
surface is too large to rely simply on blood) and the same fluid circulates
diffusion, osmosis and active transport. around the body. The role of the
Therefore specialised transport systems transport system is to pick up nutrients
have developed in complex plants and (such as digested foods and oxygen)
animals to carry substances. and distribute them to parts of the body
The common features of a transport where they are needed, as well as to
system are: remove wastes (such as carbon dioxide
1. a suitable transport medium (fluid) and/or nitrogenous waste products)
2. the presence of vessels in which from the cells and carry the wastes to
substances can be carried excretory organs where they can be

Table 2.1 Transport systems in plants and animals

Transport medium
Vessels (fluid) Driving mechanism

Plants Phloem Dissolved sugars Pressure flow

(organic nutrients)

Xylem Water and dissolved Transpiration stream

inorganic salts

Animals Arteries, capillaries Blood Pumping heart

(mammals) and veins (and muscle contraction)


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removed from the body. In mammals, a pump (the heart) to move the blood
the transport system is known as the in the correct direction and a series of
cardiovascular system, made up of vessels (see Fig. 2.20 on page 57).

Blood as a medium of transport

Blood is a fluid transport medium that
flows through the heart and blood
The transport function of
vessels of the transport (cardiovascular)
Blood is the main transport medium
system in all vertebrates and some
of the body. In the previous chapter
invertebrates. It is a complex fluid we learnt that blood distributes heat
which consists of blood plasma and around the body—human blood usually
blood cells (see Fig. 2.1). If whole blood has a temperature of 38°C (it carries
is spun in a centrifuge, it separates heat and so is 1°C higher than body
into its component parts: 45% cells and temperature) and a pH of 7.35 (slightly
55% watery plasma. At the bottom of alkaline). The volume of blood in
the tube, the heavier cells settle out the human body varies slightly from
and appear dark red in colour, due to one person to the next, but an adult
the presence of red blood cells. The human has approximately 5 litres of
fluid part or plasma is lighter in colour blood. For the normal functioning of
(a pale yellow) and contains many the body and its enzymes, these levels
substances dissolved or suspended of temperature, pH and blood volume
in it. must be carefully maintained.

albumins Figure 2.1

58% Composition of blood
(percentage globulins
by weight) 38%
proteins 7% fibrinogen
percentage body weight percentage ions
by volume
water 91% waste
other fluids gases
and tissues 92%
other regulatory
plasma solutes 2% substances
centrifuge 55%
formed elements platelets
blood 8%
(number per
cubic mm)
formed platelets leukocytes
elements 250–400 thousand (white blood cells)
white blood cells
5–9 thousand

red blood cells erythrocytes

4.2–6.2 million (red blood cells)


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Blood also carries nutrients required Haemoglobin is an iron-containing

by the body, wastes to be excreted from protein molecule that gives red blood
the body, gases, and other chemicals cells their colour. It consists of two
such as control substances (hormones), parts: a protein, globin, and a pigmental
infection-fighting chemicals iron compound called the haem group.
(antibodies), clotting factors and many Iron is therefore essential for the
more. formation and maturation of red blood
cells. Haemoglobin has an affinity for
The composition of blood oxygen and readily combines with it to
Blood cells from oxyhaemoglobin. Haemoglobin
releases oxygen easily in areas of
Blood contains three main types of
low oxygen concentration. Red blood
cells: red blood cells, white blood
cells are also able to transport a small
cells and platelets. All blood cells are
amount of carbon dioxide in the blood
produced in bone marrow.
and they help to maintain the pH
Red blood cells (erythrocytes) balance of the blood.
There are approximately 4–6 million White blood cells (leucocytes)
red blood cells per millilitre (mL) of
White blood cells, also produced in
blood and their main function is to
bone marrow, function as part of the
transport oxygen. Red blood cells form
immune system. Their main role is
in bone marrow; at first each cell has
to protect the body against invading
a nucleus, but as the cell matures, the
organisms. There are approximately
nucleus disappears and a red pigment
4000–11 000 white blood cells per
called haemoglobin develops inside
mL of human blood (with higher
the cell. As a result of the absence of a
levels often indicative of an infection.
nucleus, the mature red blood cells are
Leukaemia, a form of cancer of the
small, with a diameter of approximately
white blood cells, also greatly elevates
7 µm (micrometres). (See Fig. 2.2.)
the white blood cell count). White
Red blood cells are round, but they are
blood cells are larger than red blood
biconcave rather than spherical—that
cells (about 50% bigger) and not as
is, they are slightly flattened towards
abundant. All white blood cells have a
the centre (similar to a ‘Fruit Tingle’
nucleus; in some white blood cells it
lolly). The front cover of this textbook
may be an unusual shape (see Fig. 2.1
and Figure 2.3b show scanning electron
and 2.3b). In prepared microscope
micrographs of blood cells. Red blood
slides of blood, the staining technique
cells have a lifespan of approximately
imparts a purple colour to the
4 months and when they die they are
nucleus—look out for this in the first-
broken down and replaced by newly
hand investigation that follows.
Figure 2.2 The shape formed blood cells from the bone
and dimensions of a marrow. Platelets (thrombocytes)
red blood cell
Platelets are fragments of special cells,
7.5 μm also produced in the bone marrow.
They are disc-shaped, about half the
size of red blood cells and there are
about 400 000 per mL of blood. Platelets
2.0 μm
function in the clotting of blood—they
stick to each other and to blood fibres
at the site of a wound. This contact
top view side view causes them to break open and they
release an enzyme, thromboplastin,


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which sets in progress a sequence glycerol and fatty acids (from SR TR

of steps to seal the blood vessels digested lipids) and cholesterol
and cause blood to clot, preventing ■ gases: oxygen and carbon dioxide
excessive blood loss. ■ excretory waste products:
nitrogenous wastes such as urea,
Plasma uric acid and ammonia Student worksheet—the
composition of blood
Plasma, the yellow, watery fluid part ■ ions (mainly sodium chloride and
of blood, consists of about 90% water calcium and magnesium phosphates)
and the other 10% consists mainly ■ regulatory substances such as
of proteins. Plasma makes up most hormones—chemical messenger
of the volume of blood and it carries molecules involved in the
many substances in either dissolved or co-ordination of body systems Figure 2.3
(a) A standard blood
suspended form. It carries: ■ other substances such as vitamins. smear showing blood
■ plasma proteins: clotting factors, Blood serum is plasma without cells under a light
immunoglobulins (antibodies to fight the clotting proteins (it still contains microscope; (b) a
infections) and albumen, as well as scanning electron
antibodies). micrograph of blood
enzymes cells (red cells, white
■ nutrients: the end products cells and platelets)
of digestion—amino acids (from (b)
digested proteins), glucose
(from digested carbohydrates),


Estimating the size of red and white blood cells

■ perform a first-hand investigation using the light INVESTIGATION
microscope and prepared slides to gather information to
estimate the size of red and white blood cells and draw
scaled diagrams of each H12.1; H12.2; H12.4
Background information: the late 1600s, even approximating their size:
‘25 000 times smaller than a fine grain of sand’. H14.1; H14.2
measurement in science (Extension activity:
To do this, he would have had to understand the
Anton van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch lens maker magnifying power of the microscope and lenses H14.3)
and early microscopist, provided one of the that he was using.
first precise descriptions of red blood cells in Many advances in microscopy have been


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SR made since then and accurate measurements ■ the expected values in scientific literature
of the size of microscopic structures are now (accuracy), since the latter has been
commonly made, but this involves the use of measured with more advanced and precise
fairly sophisticated laboratory equipment to equipment.
obtain precise measurements and to keep the
margin of error to a minimum. Aim
Guidedd investigation—
i ti ti
All measurement is an approximation To estimate the size of red blood cells and white
estimating the size of
and involves using a measuring instrument, blood cells seen with a light microscope.
red and white blood
such as a ruler or scale, which is calibrated to
compare the object to some standard (such as Materials
a millimetre). Measurement can therefore be ■ Light microscope.
TR thought of as a ratio. ■ Prepared slides of human blood.
In this investigation, students are required ■ Plastic ruler, or graph paper or a mini-grid
to estimate the size of blood cells. It is possible slide.
to do this using simple equipment such as ■ Pencil and drawing paper.
a light microscope and a plastic ruler, or by Safety: Use commercially prepared microscope
Teaching strategy— using a mini-grid slide (which has with smaller slides of blood and not fresh blood, to eliminate
estimating the size of calibrations on it) in place of a ruler. The the risk of contracting blood-borne disease.
objects smaller or more precise calibrations give a Students should prepare a table to outline
more accurate estimate of the diameter field safety precautions when using a microscope.
of view.
Precision, reliability and accuracy
(see Guided Investigation on Student Resource
To carry out this procedure successfully, CD)
students must understand the difference 1. Estimate the field of view under low
between the focusing power of each lens of the power.
microscope. The accuracy of the results relies in Place the mini-grid (or transparent ruler) on
part on how precisely you can estimate the size the microscope stage and view under the
of the diameter of the field of view, as well as ×10 objective.
on your ability to observe and count how many Use the grid/ruler to estimate the diameter
red blood cells fit across the diameter. Since of the field of view in mm and μm (1 mm =
measurement is a ratio, in our investigation we 1000 μm) (see Fig. 2.4).
will estimate the ratio of the size of a red blood 2. Calculate the field of view under high
cell:the size of the diameter of the microscopic power.
field of view and the size of a white blood Rotate the high power objective lens into
cell:the size of a red blood cell. place.
Students need to take into account Calculate the field of view: low power =
limitations in the accuracy of the measurements ×100; high power = ×400;
that they make. To do this, consider three high power field of view = 100/400
aspects of measurement: the precision of the 3. Estimate the size (diameter) of a red
measurement, the margin of error and the blood cell.
confidence level—that is, the probability that View a prepared slide of a blood smear
what has been estimated actually falls within under high power on the microscope.
TR an acceptable margin of error. For example, Distinguish between the numerous small red
you may measure the length of an object as blood cells and the few, larger white blood
1.5 cm, plus or minus 0.5 mm, with a 95% level cells. (See the Student Resource CD for
of confidence. further guidance.)
To comment on the reliability and accuracy 4. Estimate the size of a red blood cell by
General resources— of your results, it is wise to compare them with: counting or estimating the approximate
drawings in biology ■ estimates made by other students in the number of red blood cells that would fit
and answers to class who are using similar equipment across the diameter of the field of view
investigation (reliability), and (using ×400 magnification). Using this


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1 Focus on large grid under s100.

( Place blood smear under low power
field of view then high power. Estimate number of
blood cells across diameter.
grid line diameter of
at edge field of view
(Do not use these figures
in your practical)

1 mm 0.6 mm Count: ±55 red blood cells

400 Mm (diameter of field of view)
55 (number of red blood cells)
= 7.3 Mm = estimated size of one
red blood cell

grid lines on ruler

or minigrid slide

Mag. s100 (low power)

Figure 2.5 Estimating
Field = 160 Mm
6. Estimate the size of white blood cells. the size of a red blood
2 Focus under s400—cannot see ■ Since there are so few white blood cells, cell
grid, therefore need to calculate. it is not possible to count the number
of white cells across the diameter and
much more difficult to estimate how
many would fit across the diameter.
Another method of estimating their size
is to compare their proportions with that
of red blood cells. Use this estimate to
then calculate their size.
■ Repeat the process with three different
white blood cells and obtain an average.
7. Draw a scale diagram of each type of
blood cell as follows:
(a) Draw a line of a particular length (e.g.
1 cm or 2 cm). This will be your scale bar
Mag. s400 (high power) that represents 10 μm.
160 Mm (b) Using this scale, draw a red blood cell
Field = = 400 Mm diameter
4 and white blood cell, representing the
Figure 2.4 The sequence of steps to estimate average size of each cell to scale.
the size of the field of view (c) Label all parts of each cell.
8. Record the results.
Record all estimates and working for any
number and the known diameter for the field calculations and scientific diagrams.
of view, calculate the size of each blood cell. Results
(See Fig. 2.5.)
5. Assess accuracy and reliability. Record all results appropriately (see the
■ Repeat this process three times, using Student Resource CD for a worksheet).
different areas of the blood smear for
each estimate (reliability) and find an
Discussion and conclusion
average size for red blood cells. Answer all discussion questions on the Student
■ Compare your estimate with the actual Resource CD. Re-read the aim and use your
size (see above) to assess reliability. results to arrive at a valid conclusion.


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2.2 Chemic substances and how they are transported

in blood
Chemicals in the blood
■ identify the form(s) in which each of the following is
carried in mammalian blood:
—carbon dioxide
—nitrogenous waste
—other products of digestion
Blood plays an important role in Oxygen transport
homeostasis in the body, distributing When oxygen diffuses across the
heat and acting as a buffer to respiratory surface of the lung into the
maintain pH levels. It is an extremely blood, most of it (98.5%) combines
complex tissue of the body and also reversibly with haemoglobin inside the
functions in the transport of a wide red blood cells. A very small proportion
variety of chemical substances. To (no more than 1.5%) may travel
maintain homeostasis, chemicals being dissolved in the plasma.
transported in the blood must be Red blood cells are ideally
maintained at a particular concentration adapted to carrying oxygen—they
and carried in a specific form that will contain no nucleus, providing ample
not affect the balance in the internal place for the carrying of many large
environment of the body. respiratory pigment molecules called
If the normal balance of substances haemoglobin. Haemoglobin has an
in the blood is altered, conditions such affinity for (is chemically attracted
as ‘low blood sugar levels’ or ‘high to) oxygen. The slightly flattened,
blood pressure’ will arise, bringing biconcave shape of red blood cells
with them unpleasant and sometimes gives them a larger surface area:volume
dangerous side effects, which are an ratio for easy diffusion of oxygen
indication that metabolic functioning across the surface. Each red blood cell
has been compromised—homeostasis contains approximately 250 million
therefore also relies on maintaining molecules of haemoglobin, resulting in
a balance of chemicals within the a very high oxygen carrying capacity.
blood. When blood in the lungs comes into
contact with oxygen that has entered
Blood gases the body by diffusion, haemoglobin
All living cells in the body require in the red blood cells binds with this
oxygen and produce carbon dioxide— oxygen, forming a compound called
oxygen is required for the process of oxyhaemoglobin. This compound
cellular respiration and carbon dioxide gives a bright red colour to blood, as
is produced as a waste product. These opposed to the dark red appearance
gases are carried in particular forms of blood when oxygen is lacking—
within the plasma or red blood cells deoxygenated haemoglobin is not as
of blood, so that the pH and fluid bright in colour. Most (but not all)
concentrations remain stable. arteries carry bright red oxygenated


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blood, whereas most venous blood is carbon dioxide + water → carbonic

a dark red colour. On colour diagrams acid → hydrogen carbonate +
in biology, oxygenated blood is buffered hydrogen ions
usually represented in red, whereas
deoxygenated blood is represented CO2 + H2O → H2CO3 → HCO3– + H+
using the colour blue. This blood is 2. Some carbon dioxide binds
not really blue, but a dark red. Veins to haemoglobin, forming
beneath the skin may appear blue, but carbaminohaemoglobin.
this is a combination of the dark red Haemoglobin does not bind to
blood within the white-yellow vessel carbon dioxide in the same way
wall. that it binds oxygen. Oxygen binds
(Details of the structure of to the iron atom of haemoglobin,
haemoglobin and its interaction with whereas carbon dioxide binds to
oxygen are dealt with in more detail the amino group of the protein
on page 43 in the section ‘The adaptive part—the globin molecule, forming
advantage of haemoglobin’.)
carbaminohaemoglobin. As
Carbon dioxide transport with oxygen, this is a reversible
When carbon dioxide enters the reaction and many carbon dioxide
blood, most (70%) of it is transported molecules can combine with a single
in the form of hydrogen carbonate Figure 2.6 The
CO2 transport tissue cell
ions—formed in the red blood from tissues CO2 produced transport of carbon
cells, but carried in the plasma. The dioxide within the blood
interstistial CO
remaining carbon dioxide is carried fluid 2

either dissolved in the plasma (7%) or it

is carried combined with haemoglobin blood plasma CO2 capillary
within capillary wall
Carbon dioxide, produced as a waste CO2
product of respiration, diffuses from the
cells of the body into the bloodstream. red H2CO3 haemoglobin
blood carbonic acid Hb picks up
When carbon dioxide enters the cell CO2 and H+
bloodstream, some of it dissolves in the
plasma. Since carbon dioxide mixed HCO3– + H+
with water forms carbonic acid, it is not
ideal for all of the carbon dioxide to HCO3– to lungs
dissolve in the plasma, since this would
affect the pH of blood. Instead, a large CO2 transport HCO3–
to lungs
proportion of the carbon dioxide enters
the red blood cells. Once there, one of
HCO3– + H+
two things happens:
1. Most of the carbon dioxide mixes haemoglobin
Hb releases
with water in the cytoplasm within H2CO3 CO2 and H+
the blood cells and forms carbonic
acid. This is rapidly converted CO2
to hydrogen carbonate ions
(bicarbonate ions). These hydrogen
carbonate ions then move out of the
red blood cells into the blood CO2
plasma and 70% of carbon dioxide is CO2

transported in this form. This can be CO2

summarised as: alveolar space in lung


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haemoglobin molecule. Only 23% of Lipids and other products of

carbon dioxide is carried in this form. digestion
The aim of digestion is to break large
Water and salts
molecules down to a size small enough
Water is the medium of transport of for absorption through the intestine
all substances in the body. It forms wall and into the bloodstream, so that
the basis of the cytoplasm in all cells, they can be transported to cells in the
the interstitial fluids (tissue fluids) body where they are required. The
surrounding cells and blood and lymph digestion of large organic molecules
(the transport fluids in animals). About to their smaller end products is
90% of blood plasma is water. The summarised below:
other 10% is made up mostly of various
kinds of protein molecules, as well as large organic → end product
other substances, including hormones, compound of digestion
vitamins, end products of digestion and glucose (simple
salts. carbohydrates →
Salts are carried in blood as ions proteins → amino acids
(charged particles) dissolved in the
lipids fatty acids and
plasma. For example, the salt sodium
(fats and oils) → glycerol
chloride (NaCl) is carried as positively
charged sodium ions (Na+) and nucleic acids → nucleotides
negatively charged chloride ions (Cl–)
Glucose and amino acid transport
in solution in the watery medium of
the plasma. Substances (such as salts) Glucose and amino acids are water-
that become ions in solution are often soluble and so they are transported
referred to as electrolytes, because of in the bloodstream dissolved in the
their capacity to conduct electricity. plasma, along with other soluble
The balance of the electrolytes in our substances, such as nitrogenous bases,
bodies is essential for normal function vitamins and glycerol, absorbed from
of our cells and our organs. Common the digestive tract.
Figure 2.7 Transport
of lipids: (a) micelle;
electrolytes found in blood include Lipid transport
(b) absorption of sodium, potassium, chloride and
the end products of
Lipids pose a problem in terms of
digestion transport, since most of the end
products of digestion are insoluble
amino in water and therefore cannot be
lumen of the intestine acids
fat droplets
carried dissolved in plasma. A small
glucose proportion of fatty acids and glycerol
are soluble and enter the bloodstream
cells lipid
directly, but most need to be packaged
(a) lipid transport phospholipid into small droplets, which pass into
ch-esters surface lacteal the lymphatic system and then into the
capillaries bloodstream.
chylomicron End products of lipid digestion that
triglycerides are insoluble in water are transported
chylomicron chylomicron as small spherical particles called
remnants 100-1000nm
micelles. These are transported
(b) absorption of end in colloidal solution—a mixture
products of digestion
somewhere between a true solution
and a suspension—in the body fluid
(see Fig. 2.7).


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The absorption of the end products Nitrogenous wastes

of lipid digestion differs from that of Nitrogenous wastes are harmful
amino acids and glucose, because they substances produced in the body
pass into lacteals inside the villi of the as a result of the breakdown of
small intestine instead of being absorbed proteins. These substances need to
directly into blood capillaries. During be transported in a diluted form, from
their absorption, they are processed to cells where they are produced to the
form micelles called chylomicrons excretory organs where they can be
and it is in this form that they are eliminated from the body. Nitrogenous
transported. The lacteals, carrying wastes in the form of ammonia, urea,
chylomicrons, are part of the lymphatic uric acid and creatinine are all carried
circulation and these eventually join the dissolved in blood plasma.
main blood supply by emptying into
veins in the region of the shoulders.

The adapative advantage of haemoglobin

■ explain the adaptive advantage of haemoglobin
The structure of haemoglobin oxygen can be carried in blood
cells by haemoglobin (1000 million
Haemoglobin is a protein made up
molecules of oxygen) than could be
of four polypeptide chains (called
carried dissolved in plasma.
globins) and each is bonded to a haem
■ Haemoglobin has a further adaptive
(iron-containing) group. Each haem is
advantage because its ability to
a red pigment molecule and the iron
bind oxygen increases once the first
necessary for haemoglobin formation
oxygen molecule binds to it. The
is obtained from the diet. Since small
bonding of each oxygen molecule
amounts of iron are lost from the body
causes the haemoglobin to change
regularly in waste products like urine slightly in shape, making it easier for
and faeces (and people lose more iron every subsequent oxygen molecule
when they lose blood), a regular supply to bind to it. This increases the rate
of dietary iron is necessary to maintain and efficiency of oxygen uptake. As
haemoglobin in red blood cells. a result, a very small increase in the
A lack of iron in the diet may lead to oxygen concentration in the lungs
a condition known as anaemia, where can result in a large increase in the
there are too few red blood cells or the oxygen saturation of blood. For
blood cells that are present are unable example during exercise, we breathe
to carry sufficient oxygen. more deeply and rapidly, increasing
the oxygen intake into the lungs and
The adaptive advantage of
this causes an increased uptake of
oxygen by haemoglobin.
■ Haemoglobin has the adaptive ■ Another adaptive advantage of
advantage of being able to increase haemoglobin is that its capacity
the oxygen-carrying capacity of to release oxygen increases when
blood. Haemoglobin molecules carbon dioxide is present. It is
each contain four haem units, important for haemoglobin to
giving one haemoglobin molecule combine with oxygen at respiratory
the ability to bond with four surfaces, but equally important for it
oxygen molecules and so far more to release the oxygen freely from the


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 43 28/5/08 2:21:52 PM


blood in tissues where the oxygen

concentration is low, so that oxygen

% saturation of blood with oxygen

is delivered to the cells that need
it. Metabolising cells release carbon 80
dioxide, which combines with 70
water to from carbonic acid and this 60
lowers the pH. Haemoglobin has
the adaptive advantage of a reduced
affinity for oxygen at a lower pH
and so it releases the oxygen in 30
these tissues where it is needed. 20
(This is known as the Bohr effect). 10
(See Fig. 2.9.)
■ In the tissues of the body, once 0 2 4 6 8 10 12
haemoglobin has released oxygen, partial pressure of oxygen/kPa
it has an increased ability to pick
up carbon dioxide. In the lungs,
as haemoglobin binds to oxygen,

% saturation of blood with oxygen

the haemoglobin releases carbon 1
dioxide more easily. 80
Figure 2.8 3
(a) Structure of ■ The fact that haemoglobin is 70
haemoglobin molecule, enclosed in a red blood cell is also 60
made up of four of advantage because if it were
protein chains, each 50
with an iron-containing
simply dissolved in the plasma,
haem group; (b) the oxygen would upset the osmotic 1 2.7 kPa CO2
binding of oxygen to a balance of the plasma. 30
haem group 2 6.7 kPa CO2

(a) haem 10 3 10.6 kPa CO2

oxygen 0 2 4 6 8 10 12
(b) partial pressure of oxygen/kPa
Figure 2.9 (a) Oxygen saturation of blood as the
concentration of oxygen increases; (b) the change
in the oxygen carrying capacity of haemoglobin as
the carbon dioxide concentration changes

2.4 Oxygen, carbon dioxide and cell functioning

■ outline the need for oxygen in living cells and explain
why removal of carbon dioxide from cells is essential
The need for oxygen by cells and why carbon dioxide must be
Oxygen is necessary for cellular obtain energy from glucose. Energy is
respiration, a process by which cells needed for life-sustaining processes


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such as growth, repair of tissues, carbon dioxide reacts with water (in the
movement, excretion and reproduction. cytoplasm of cells or in the plasma of
Although glucose and other food blood), it forms carbonic acid. A build-
molecules are energy rich, the energy up of carbonic acid is toxic, as it lowers
stored in them must be converted into the pH of the cells and bloodstream,
a form that living cells can use for affecting the homeostatic balance
metabolism. Oxygen combines with within an organism. A low (acidic)
glucose in a sequence of enzyme- pH would prevent enzymes from
controlled steps during cellular functioning optimally and this affects
respiration to release chemical energy cell functioning by reducing metabolic
as ATP, the form of chemical energy efficiency in the body. Therefore the
needed by cells for their metabolism. removal of carbon dioxide is essential
This is called the oxidation of glucose for the optimal functioning of enzymes.
and it takes place in all living cells. The first-hand investigation that
Carbon dioxide is produced in follows (‘The effect of carbon dioxide
cells as a waste product of chemical on the pH of water’) provides evidence
respiration. It must be removed from of the effect of carbon dioxide in
cells to prevent a change in pH in the solution in the body.
cells, bloodstream and body. When

The effect of carbon dioxide on the pH of water

■ perform a first-hand investigation to demonstrate the INVESTIGATION
effect of dissolved carbon dioxide on the pH of water
Carbon dioxide is produced in living organisms ■ add hydrochloric acid to calcium H12.1; H12.2; H12.4
as a result of cellular respiration. When carbon carbonate marble chips in a delivery
dioxide dissolves in water it forms carbonic acid, tube and capture the resulting gas in a
which is toxic to cells. All organisms get rid of test tube containing limewater to show H14.1; H14.2; H14.3
carbon dioxide as quickly as possible, before it that the gas is carbon dioxide.
can interfere with the chemical activities of their 2. To determine the pH of water: the pH of
cells. water before and after the addition of carbon
dioxide should be determined in one of two
Background information ways:
This investigation involves two steps—first, it ■ using universal indicator solution
must be demonstrated that the gas being used ■ using a pH sensor and data logger.
It is recommended that both methods
for the investigation is carbon dioxide and,
of measuring pH be carried out, to provide
second, the carbon dioxide must be bubbled
an opportunity for students to compare the
through water of known pH, to investigate
accuracy and precision of each. As part of the
whether the carbon dioxide has any effect on
HSC course skills, students are expected to
the pH of the water.
know how to improve an investigation plan and
1. To demonstrate the presence of carbon
this provides an ideal opportunity.
dioxide, one of two standard tests using
the chemical limewater may be carried Task 1: Investigating the
out. Clear limewater turns milky white in effect of carbon dioxide on the
the presence of carbon dioxide. Students
pH of water using universal
■ exhale through a drinking straw into a
indicator solution
test tube of limewater, to demonstrate To investigate the effect of dissolved carbon
that carbon dioxide is present in exhaled dioxide on the pH of water using universal
air. indicator solution.


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 45 28/5/08 2:21:54 PM


TR Aim Results
1. To demonstrate that carbon dioxide is (a) Record the initial pH of the distilled water.
present in exhaled air. (b) Record the pH of the water after it contained
2. To determine the effect of carbon dioxide on dissolved carbon dioxide.
the pH on water. (c) State whether each is indicative of a strong
General resources— or weak acidic or basic solution.
risk assessment: Safety
safety Discuss risks associated with: Discussion
■ Use of limewater. Answer the discussion questions on the Student
■ Handling glassware. Resource CD worksheet.
■ Blowing into a test tube through a straw.
Method—Part 1
Write a valid conclusion for this investigation.
■ Pour 10 mL of limewater into a test tube and
gently blow out through two straws. Observe Task 2: Investigating the
the colour change to determine whether effect of carbon dioxide on
carbon dioxide is present in exhaled air.
the pH of water using a data
■ Discard the solution and straws
appropriately. logger and a pH probe
Method—Part 2
To use computer-based technology such as a
■ Use a measuring cylinder to measure 20 mL
data logger to find the effect of dissolved carbon
SR of distilled water and pour it into a clean
dioxide on the pH of water.
250 mL conical flask.
■ Place 3 drops of universal indicator solution
into the water and estimate the pH of the
water by comparing the colour against the ■ Connect the pH probe of a data logger to a
standard colours shown on the universal computer and instruct the computer to read
ti ti the pH of the solution to be tested.
indicator pH colour chart.
worksheet: carbon ■ Calibrate the pH probe of the data logger
■ Place 4 plastic drinking straws into the flask
dioxide and the pH of (connected to the computer) using distilled
and blow bubbles of exhaled air containing
water water and buffer solutions.
carbon dioxide into the flask for 2 minutes.
■ Now estimate the pH of the water again, ■ Using a measuring cylinder, measure 20 mL
Figure 2.10 Using
noting the change in the colour of the of distilled water and pour it into a clean
data logger technology
to measure the effect solution. 250 mL conical flask.
of dissolved carbon ■ Record the results (a worksheet is provided ■ Place the pH probe into the distilled water
dioxide on the pH of on the Student Resource CD). and instruct the computer to record and

student exhales air, containing

carbon dioxide, into a straw

data logger records

pH change and transmits graph appears on computer screen
information to a computer
straw exhalation
8 begins

beaker 7

pH probe data logger
exhaled measures effect 5
air of carbon dioxide
on pH of water
water Time (seconds)


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 46 28/5/08 2:21:55 PM


graph any changes in the pH of the water after dissolved carbon dioxide was
against time. introduced.
■ Place 4 plastic drinking straws into the flask ■ Calculate the change in the pH of the water.
and blow bubbles of exhaled air (containing ■ Describe the change in the water in terms of
carbon dioxide) into the flask for 2 minutes acidity or alkalinity.
or until the graph no longer shows a change
in pH. The computer should graph changes Discussion and conclusion
in the pH of the water against time.
■ Print out a hard copy of the graphed results ■ Comment on the accuracy of using a data
for analysis. Compare your results with logger for finding the changing pH of water
those of other students. as the amount of carbon dioxide increases.
■ Discuss any other benefits of using the
Results computer-based technology rather than
■ Insert the computer-graphed result into your relying on observations of change with
practical report. universal indicator solution.
■ Record the initial pH of the distilled ■ Write a valid conclusion for this
water and the lowest pH of the water investigation.

Technology—measuring blood gases

■ analyse information from secondary sources to identify INVESTIGATION
current technologies that allow measurement of oxygen
saturation and carbon dioxide concentrations in blood
and describe and explain the conditions under which H3

these technologies are used H4

Aims are maintained by homeostasis, so changes
in these levels reflect ineffective metabolic BIOLOGY SKILLS
To analyse information from secondary sources functioning. Unless this can be corrected, the
to: H12.3; H12.4
imbalance in metabolism will result in poor
■ (Part 1) identify current technologies that health, which may deteriorate to a degree that H13.1
allow measurement of oxygen saturation is life-threatening.
and carbon dioxide concentrations in blood. H14.1; H14.3
The concentrations of oxygen and carbon
■ (Part 2) describe and explain the conditions dioxide in the blood are important indicators KNOWLEDGE
under which these technologies are used. of how well the lungs are functioning and the
■ (Part 3) assess the impact of particular H6
effectiveness of the circulation of blood within
advances in biology on the development of the body. The pH of the blood is an indicator
technologies (refers to PFA H3). of kidney and lung functioning. Both lungs
and kidneys are excretory organs—lungs
Extension excrete carbon dioxide, preventing a build-up
■ To assess the impacts of applications of of carbonic acid and kidneys excrete excess
biology on society and the environment hydrogen ions (H+). A build-up of either of
(refers to PFA H4). these chemicals would affect blood pH, making
■ To identify possible future directions of it more acidic. The level of electrolytes in the
biological research (refers to PFA H5). blood may also be an indication of poor kidney
Part 1: Identify current
technologies to measure blood Current technologies
gases There are two main technologies used to
determine the levels of gases in blood.
Background information Pulse oximeters are used extensively in
The level of certain chemicals in the blood hospitals. Most people who have, in recent
gives an indication of the state of health of a years, been in hospital for surgery or any
person. Correct levels of chemicals in blood breathing-related disorder (such as asthma)


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 47 28/5/08 2:21:56 PM


TR will probably have had first-hand experience extensively because it is non-invasive and
of the use of this technology. A clip with a gives a good idea of the oxygen saturation
sensor is placed on the finger (or earlobe) levels of haemoglobin in the patient’s
and the sensor is connected to a monitor that blood—an indication that breathing and
shows the pulse rate and oxygen saturation circulation are normal.
level. (See Fig. 2.11.) This technology is used Arterial blood gas (ABG) analysis is a
Teaching strategy— more invasive technique of analysis and is
blood technologies only carried out if abnormalities show up in the
pulse oximeter readings, or in severe cases of
Figure 2.11 Pulse
breathing disturbance. ABG analysis involves
removing blood from an artery (usually in
the arm) and performing a blood test using
computer-based technology to analyse the
chemical components in the sample of blood
(see Fig. 2.12). This technology reveals far
more detail about the levels of chemicals in
the blood, measuring the partial pressures of
oxygen and carbon dioxide, the pH and the
level of bicarbonate ions. The main use of ABG
PFA analysis is in the study of lung disease and
conditions of poor gaseous exchange, but the
H5 pH and electrolyte (ion) levels measured also
give important information about how well the
kidneys are functioning.
Figure 2.12 Arterial
blood gas analysis Current and future technology for
analysing oxygen saturation in blood includes
the use of a mobile phone linked by Bluetooth
to a battery-powered oximeter (see Fig. 2.13).
right radial artery This equipment can monitor blood oxygen
levels on an ongoing basis in a patient who is
mobile and not hospitalised.

Part 2: Conditions under which

technologies are used
Video showing the procedure of
arterial blood gas analysis.
Video showing the use of a pulse oximeter.
mobile phone
signal sent via Read the information in your textbook, watch
bluetooth to
the video clips on YouTube and analyse
information provided in Table 2.2 to become
familiar with the two current technologies used
to determine blood oxygen and carbon dioxide
levels and then answer the questions that
follow. All sources should be acknowledged
appropriately. A worksheet and recommended
websites have been provided on the Student
Resource CD with tables in the form of editable
word documents to assist you to answer the
pulse oximeter measures oxygen saturation following questions.

Figure 2.13 Oximeter with Bluetooth connection 1. Explain why:
to mobile phone (a) living cells need oxygen


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 48 28/5/08 2:21:57 PM


(b) carbon dioxide must be removed from used to answer Questions 1 and 2 in this
cells (in your answer, describe the investigation.
relationship between pH and carbon
dioxide levels in cells/blood). 3. (Use Tables CD2.6 and CD2.7 on the PFA
(Table CD2.2 is provided on the Student Student Resource CD).
Resource CD.) Using the websites provided on the Student H3
2. (Tables CD2.3, CD2.4 and CD2.5 are Resource CD:
provided on the Student Resource CD.) (a) research and outline current directions
(a) Describe and explain two conditions of biological research using smart
under which each of the following phones to detect blood oxygen levels TR
technologies would be used: and describe the conditions under which
■ blood gas analyser these may prove useful
■ pulse oximeter. (b) assess the validity each of the three
(b) Assess the relevance, reliability and websites recommended for researching General resources—
accuracy of two of the secondary the section on smart phone technology evaluating websites
sources of information that you have and Bluetooth reading of oximeters.

Table 2.2 Measuring

g blood g
gases ((oxygen
yg and carbon dioxide))

Blood gas analyser Pulse oximeter

Type of Invasive: small sample of arterial blood must be Non-invasive: consists of a probe attached to the
technology withdrawn from the patient or an arterial probe may be patient’s finger or earlobe.
and what it inserted into an artery to take measurements.
measures Oxygen saturation of a patient’s blood is measured
Oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are measured directly indirectly by determining the light absorption caused by
through a blood sample. The levels at a particular point arterial blood. It may proceed on a continuous basis,
in time are determined. without the need for a blood sample to be taken.

How it Electrochemical: uses a sensor that translates Optical: uses a sensor that translates a physical
works chemical properties into an electrical signal that can be property (light emitted) into an electrical signal that can
measured. be measured.
print out pulse oximetry
light light

LED detector LED


TPO (transmission) vs RPO (reflectance)

pulse oximeters measure oxygen saturation
of blood by detecting transmitted light or reflected light

Figure 2.14 Arterial blood gas analyser Figure 2.15 Oximeter diodes

What it Oxygen level in blood: Oxygen level in blood:

measures Partial pressure of oxygen (PO2): measures how well two light-emitting diodes, one producing red and one
oxygen can move from air space of lungs into blood producing infrared light, are shone through the finger.
Oxygen saturation: measures how much of the The amount of light absorbed is determined by the level
haemoglobin is carrying oxygen of oxygenation of haemoglobin in the blood. Oxygen
Carbon dioxide level in blood: saturation is calculated and displayed on a screen.
Partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2): Pulse rate is also measured.
Measures how much carbon dioxide is dissolved in the Most oximeters do not measure carbon dioxide levels
blood and therefore how well carbon dioxide can move (it is only as recently as 2005 that some oximeters
out of the body with a carbon dioxide sensor were developed).
pH of blood: measures hydrogen ions (H+) in blood
(linked to dissolved carbon dioxide in blood)
Bicarbonate ions in blood: these are buffers that
prevent the blood from becoming too acidic. They are
reabsorbed in the kidney and are a good indication of
kidney functioning.


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 49 28/5/08 2:22:00 PM


SR TR Part 3: Impact of advances in developed as a result of this advance in

biology and outline its use.
biology on technology
(d) Write a valid conclusion in which you
4. Assess the impact of particular advances in sum up your assessment of the impact
biology on the development of technologies. of the advances in biology on the
This question may be tackled in several steps. development of the technology.
Worksheet and (Use the PFA H3 scaffold on the Student The verb ‘assess’ asks for a ‘judgement
Resource CD to assist with this task.) based on criteria’. To make this judgement,
(a) Identify the key area(s) of biological consider all the criteria you have outlined
used to measure blood
knowledge on which each technology is in the table so far and then write a valid
based. conclusion in which you sum up your
(b) Outline the advances in understanding assessment of the impact of the advances
that were necessary before each in biology on the development of the
technology could be developed. technology. A guide to the type of wording
(c) Identify each technology that was you may use is provided in the table below.

Development of technology that has

Area of study (research) Advance in understanding resulted

This new technology may lead to or has led to new breakthroughs, as they are used in current research to explore

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ .

Assess the impact of the particular advances in biology on the development of technologies.

Therefore the advances in understanding have had a significant/large/insignificant impact because they have led
to technology that is better/more accurate/more advanced and can _______________________________________________________ .

Extension questions
See the Student Resource CD.

2.5 Structure and functioning of the circulatory system

Transport vessels—blood and
lymph vessels
Transport vessels all have some
structural features in common: they are
long, hollow structures that consist of a
The transport or vascular system in lumen (cavity), surrounded by a wall.
mammals consists of the heart, blood
vessels and lymph vessels, as well Blood and blood vessels
as the fluids transported in them— Blood is transported by arteries away
blood and lymph. These systems from the heart, towards the tissues of
are interrelated and it is important to the body. Blood is transported by veins
understand their interactive functioning from the tissues in the body and they
to deal with the next section on return it back to the heart. Capillaries
changes in chemical composition of are tiny, thin-walled blood vessels in the
the blood at the tissues, so both will be tissues of the body that carry blood very
introduced briefly below. close to the cells, linking the arteries


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 50 28/5/08 2:22:05 PM


and veins. Arteries branch to form

to the from the
arterioles (tiny arteries) that lead heart heart
directly into capillary networks in vein artery
the tissues. Blood flows from the
capillary networks of tissues into
venules which join up to form veins vessel
so that blood can be returned to tissues
the heart. Fluids that seep out of oxygen inner outer
capillaries into the surrounding waste and layer layer
products nutrients muscle
tissues are returned to the
bloodstream by the lymphatic system venules
(see Fig. 2.16). interstitial fluid

Lymph and lymphatic vessels

In the tissues of the body, water
and dissolved substances diffuse
out of the capillaries and bathe
the tissues, as tissue fluid or capillaries
interstitial fluid. This occurs partly
as a result of blood pressure and
partly due to the osmotic pressure Figure 2.16
of the tissues. Some tissue fluid Valves in the lymphatic vessels prevent Transport vessels and
returns to the capillaries, but a large backflow. fluids in the tissues of
The lymphatic vessels from all the body
amount does not. Excess accumulation
of fluid in the tissues is overcome by regions of the body eventually join up
the presence of tiny lymphatic vessels to form two main lymphatic channels
which penetrate deep into the body. and, in the regions of the shoulders,
The fluid is absorbed into the lymphatic these drain into the venous system
vessels and, together with the other where the lymph fluid rejoins the
substances there, forms the fluid called blood. The lymphatic system therefore
lymph. Lymph is a milky white fluid provides a link between the tissue
which contains dissolved substances, fluids in the deeper cells of the body
a large number of white blood cells and the blood plasma. It also plays
(called lymphocytes) and chylomicrons a role in the defence of the body—
(the end products of lipid digestion lymph nodes are small, oval bodies
which drain into the lymphatic vessels at intervals along the course of the
from the lacteals in the small intestine). lymphatic vessels. They are the sites of
The lymph flows in one direction— lymphocyte production and they also
from the tissues towards the heart. filter out and destroy bacteria. (Tonsils
The flow is brought about partly by are examples of lymph nodes.)
contractions of the muscles of the The interaction between the blood
body through which lymph vessels and lymphatic systems is important in
pass and partly by the pressure of the transport of nutrients to and wastes
lymph accumulation in the tissues. from the tissues of the body.

Structure and function of arteries, capillaries and veins

■ compare the structure of arteries, capillaries and veins
in relation to their function
The function of arteries and veins is distances, from one organ to another,
to carry blood over relatively long whereas capillaries form branching


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 51 28/5/08 2:22:06 PM


networks to carry blood over relatively the body and contains collagen
short distances within organs. Arteries fibres which are resistant to
carry blood away from the heart, overstretching.
whereas veins carry blood from the
tissues and return it to the heart. Detailed structure and function of
Arteries, veins and capillaries have a blood vessels
similar basic structure, but they differ in Movement of blood in arteries and
terms of the layers of tissue that make veins differs in terms of the direction
up the wall of each and the size of the of flow, source of flow (whether blood
lumen, so that each vessel is structurally seeps into vessels or is pumped) and
modified to best carry out its specific the pressure exerted by blood flow.
transport function. Their structure is therefore adapted in
Basic structure of arteries,
relation to their function.
capillaries and veins (see Fig. 2.17) Arteries
1. The walls of capillaries consist of an The function of arteries is to carry
endothelium, which is only one cell blood away from the heart to the
layer thick. various parts of the body. Since the
2. The walls of both arteries and veins blood is pumped out of the heart in
consist of three layers:
regular bursts under high pressure,
(a) The inner layer consists of a
the walls of the arteries are thicker
thin layer of endothelial cells
than those of veins, to withstand the
continuous with the endothelium
force. Major arteries close to the heart
of the capillaries with which
arteries and veins join. have thick layers of smooth muscle in
(b) The middle layer is made up their walls, to allow them to withstand
largely of smooth muscle, but the increases in pressure as blood is
also contains some elastic fibres pumped from the heart. The smooth
around the outside of the smooth muscle also functions to adjust the
muscle layer. The smooth muscle diameter of the lumen and therefore
in this layer controls the diameter regulates blood flow in the arteries.
of the vessels and therefore the When the smooth muscle contracts,
amount of blood and its rate of the size of the lumen is decreased
flow. (vasoconstriction) and this slows down
(c) The outer layer is composed of blood flow. When the smooth muscle
connective tissue which holds relaxes, vasodilation results and blood
blood vessels in place within flow can speed up once again.

Figure 2.17 lumen

Transverse section large lumen
through arteries, veins endothelium
and capillaries endothelium
smooth muscle
(very little
elastic layer and
elastic tissue)
smooth muscle
tissue cross section through a vein

fatty deposits endothelium (single cell layer)

cross section through an artery cross section through a capillary

(not drawn to scale–capillaries are microscopic)


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 52 28/5/08 2:22:10 PM


The walls of arteries also have a contract, the relatively thin walls TR
large proportion of elastic fibres in of the veins allow them to be
both the inner layer (surrounding the compressed and this propels the
endothelium) and in the middle layer blood towards the heart.
(surrounding the smooth muscle). 2. Veins have valves—small pocket-like Student worksheet—
This increased elasticity enables folds of the endothelium lining the additional information
the arteries to expand (stretch) to lumen of veins. These valves occur on pulse and blood
at regular intervals along the inside pressure
accommodate the increased volume
of blood pumped with each heartbeat. walls of veins and by their action
When the heart relaxes, the elastic they prevent blood from flowing
fibres allow the arteries to recoil—the backwards. Valves work like one-
artery walls return to their original way swing doors—they open to
diameter, squeezing the blood forward allow blood to flow through in one
and propelling it along, ensuring a direction (towards the heart), but
continuous flow in one direction. the pressure of blood trying to flow
In certain parts of the body where backwards causes them to swing
large arteries are near the surface of shut (see Fig. 2.18).
Figure 2.18
the skin, the expansion and recoil of Functioning of valves
the arteries (in response to increased
pressure with each heartbeat, followed
blood propelled
by a decrease in pressure) can be felt forward by
as a pulse. The force that blood exerts muscle back pressure
contractions of blood
against the walls of the blood vessel in
which it is contained is termed blood valve closed
pressure. (Additional information is valve open
available on the Teacher Resource CD.)
Blood enters veins from the capillary
networks of tissues, via venules.
Structurally, veins have walls that are
thinner than those of arteries, since the Capillaries
blood that they receive flows in under Capillaries are extremely tiny,
lower pressure (it is not pumped in). microscopic vessels that bring the blood
The walls have very few elastic fibres into close contact with the tissues, for
as no stretch and recoil is necessary the exchange of chemical substances
and the smooth muscle layer is much between cells and the bloodstream. The
thinner. The lumen also has a wider walls of capillaries consist of only one
diameter, for easy flow of blood. layer of cells—the endothelium—which
Since blood seeps into veins and is is a continuation of the endothelium
not pumped, two mechanisms prevent lining the lumen (cavity) of arteries
the backflow of blood (this is especially and veins. Capillaries have no other
important in veins such as those in layers in their walls (such as the elastic
the legs, where blood flows against fibres, smooth muscle or connective SR TR
gravity): tissue layers found in arteries and
1. Many veins are situated between veins). Diffusion is a fairly slow,
large groups of muscles (particularly passive process and so the structure of
in the arms and legs) and their capillaries is suited to slowing down the
relatively thin walls allow them to flow of blood. To maximise exchange veins and capillaries:
be easily compressed. When the of substances between the blood and relating structure to
muscles in the surrounding tissue cells of the body, capillaries have: function


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 53 28/5/08 2:22:11 PM



Draw up a table to compare arteries, veins and capillaries in terms of how their structure relates to
their function. Draw a labelled diagram of each as part of your answer. (There is a worksheet with
table outline and headings available on the Teacher Resource CD.)

■ thin walls to allow for the efficient down their flow and increasing their
diffusion of substances, so that they exposed surface area for gaseous
do not have far to travel between exchange.
the blood and body cells, and Capillaries form an expansive
■ a small lumen (only slightly larger network to spread blood flow over a
than the diameter of red blood large surface area so that no cells are
cells) to force the red blood cells to far from the blood supply.
pass through in single file, slowing

2.6 Change in chemical composition in blood during

■ describe the main changes in the chemical composition
of the blood as it moves around the body and identify
tissues in which these changes occur
The circulatory system in mammals The importance of the
is like a road system within a transport system in assisting
city—it is responsible for the transport metabolic functioning
of substances to and from various parts.
Most roads are divided into a left- and The chemical functioning of cells
right-hand side to allow travel in two (metabolism) relies on the correct
directions, for example towards and balance of chemical reactants being
away from the city centre. Similarly, brought to cells and the removal of
the circulatory system has vessels to wastes produced.
ensure that blood can flow in either Energy is the basis of all metabolic
direction—towards the heart (in veins) functioning—for any cell to function,
and away from the heart (in arteries). it must produce the energy it requires
Arteries and veins that carry substances by means of cellular respiration. This
to and from the same organ often run energy production depends on the
alongside each other within the body. correct balance of nutrients such as
The transport system within the glucose and the gas oxygen arriving
body is involved in moving four basic at the site. Requirements for energy
groups of chemicals: production must be transported from
1. gases (carbon dioxide and oxygen) their source (glucose and food-based
2. nutrients nutrients from the digestive system
3. wastes and oxygen from the lungs) to the
4. hormones (chemical signals). sites where they are needed—the


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 54 28/5/08 2:22:12 PM


cells of the body that require energy, ■ External gaseous exchange occurs
for example muscle cells or nerve in the lungs (carbon dioxide is
cells. The transport system of vessels released from blood and oxygen is
throughout the body is essential, since picked up) (see Fig. 2.19).
the mammalian body is too large and ■ Internal gaseous exchange occurs
complex to simply rely on diffusion for in all organs of the body and is
movement of these substances. the result of cellular respiration:
Once the reactants reach the cells, oxygen combines with glucose to
cellular respiration occurs—oxygen make energy and carbon dioxide is
is combined with glucose to produce released as a waste product.
energy in the form of ATP (the chemical ■ Absorption of nutrients into the
energy of cells), and carbon dioxide bloodstream takes place in the
and water are released as by-products digestive tract (and in particular in
the small intestine).
of this process. Carbon dioxide is
■ Nitrogenous waste products are
a toxic waste product and must be
produced in the liver and excreted
removed to prevent a change in the
by the kidneys.
pH of body fluids, which would affect
■ Hormones are secreted into the
enzyme functioning.
blood by glands and they then
Nitrogenous wastes are the end travel to where they are required
products of protein breakdown that and used by target tissue.
occurs during metabolic functioning. All
wastes (nitrogenous wastes and carbon Change in carbon dioxide and oxygen SR
dioxide) are carried from their sites of content of blood
production, to organs where they can The lungs are the organs of external
be excreted. The blood vessels are gaseous exchange in the body (see
responsible for this transport of wastes, Assumed Knowledge on the HSC Assumedd kknowledge—
l d
to ensure that conditions are right for Student Resource CD). Deoxygenated gaseous exchange
enzyme functioning in metabolism. blood arrives at the lungs and it
Of further importance is the releases carbon dioxide and picks
transport of hormones—chemical up oxygen. The haemoglobin in red
messenger molecules produced by blood cells binds with oxygen and
endocrine glands. These are ductless most oxygen (98.5%) is carried in the
glands and so they pour their secretions form of oxyhaemoglobin. A very small
directly into the bloodstream, which proportion (no more than 1.5%) may
transports them to their target organs travel dissolved in the plasma.
which are sensitive to the chemical Oxygenated blood is returned to the
signals. Hormones such as those lungs via pulmonary veins. The heart
that control water and salt balance then pumps this oxygenated blood via
in animals are essential to assist arteries to other tissues of the body,
where oxygen is released and used for
homeostasis, ensuring the maintenance
the process of cellular respiration.
of an optimal internal environment for
(All organs in the body other than the
metabolic functioning.
lungs receive oxygenated blood via the
The changing chemical arteries and return deoxygenated blood
to the heart via the veins.)
composition of blood
Internal gaseous exchange occurs
The difference in the chemical in the tissues of the body, as a result
concentration of blood entering or of cellular respiration. Cells release
leaving an organ, depends on the carbon dioxide, which diffuses into
function of that organ: the blood capillaries in the tissues.


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 55 28/5/08 2:22:13 PM


external gaseous
blood carrying carbon dioxide in the lungs
alveoli in the lungs
artery carries
deoxygenated pulmonary vein
carries oxygenated O2
blood away lungs
from the heart blood from the lungs
to the lungs towards the heart

veins carrying
blood towards arteries carrying
heart oxygenated blood
the heart
away from the heart


internal gaseous
exchange in tissues O2
rest of body in the body CO2

rest of body
blood carrying oxygen

Figure 2.19 Gaseous

exchange in the body
showing changes in
carbon dioxide and
oxygen levels in the
blood as it travels When carbon dioxide enters the blood, ■ An increase in digestive end
around the body some of it dissolves in the plasma, products is evident in blood that has
some is carried by haemoglobin and passed through an organ involved in
the rest is transported in the form of absorbing digested food, such as the
bicarbonate ions, all of which make up small intestine. These products of
deoxygenated blood travelling back to digestion travel in the bloodstream
the heart in veins. (See Fig. 2.19 and from the digestive tract directly to
the Assumed Knowledge on the Student the liver (see Fig. 2.20).
Resource CD.) ■ A decrease in digestive end products
(such as glucose, fatty acids and
Changes in other chemicals in amino acids) is evident once blood
the blood has passed through the liver as this
■ An increase in oxygen and a is the centre of food metabolism.
decrease in carbon dioxide ■ An increase in nitrogenous wastes
concentrations are evident in is evident in blood that has passed
blood that has passed through through the liver, the organ where
the lungs. proteins are de-aminated to form
■ A decrease in oxygen and an these wastes.
increase in carbon dioxide is evident ■ A decrease in nitrogenous wastes
in blood that has passed through any is evident in blood that has passed
organ other than the lungs (that is, through the kidneys, since they filter
any organ where cellular respiration nitrogenous wastes out of the blood
has occurred). and excrete them.


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 56 28/5/08 2:22:13 PM


Figure 2.20 The

head and anterior extremities
circulation of blood
throughout the body

vein from head

artery to lungs

artery to lungs

blood is oxygenated

heart aorta (main artery)

blood pumped

vein from
lower body

urea made
wastes are excreted
digestive tract
end products
of digestion added

Student worksheet—
changes in the chemical
posterior extremities
composition of blood


Read the preceding text and then, in the form of a table, summarise the forms in which chemicals
are transported in the blood and state their source (how they got into the bloodstream) and their
destination (where they will be released by the bloodstream). Use the headings below to construct
the table and insert one row for each of the following chemicals: oxygen, carbon dioxide, water, salts,
lipids, other products of digestion and nitrogenous wastes. (A template of this table is available on the
Student Resource CD.)
Table headings

Component of
Source (carried Destination Form of chemical blood in which it
Substance from) (carried to) in the blood travels
Answers to student


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 57 28/5/08 2:22:15 PM


Blood replacement technologies—donated blood
and artificial blood
The sections of the syllabus that deal At the end of these investigations,
with research and its progress in the you should develop knowledge and
H5 development of donated blood and understanding of:
its products, as well as current (and ■ areas currently being researched
future) developments in the research ■ career opportunities in biology and
of artificial blood provide the ideal related fields
opportunity for you to address the ■ events reported in the media that
Prescribed Focus Area of Current issues, require an understanding of some
research and developments in biology. aspect of biology.

PFA H5: Current issues, research and developments in biology: identifies possible future directions
of biological research

Scientists rely on research to develop scientific principles. If these principles stand the test of
experiment and are supported by sufficient evidence, they become broadly accepted by the scientific
community until they are disproved. Biology, like all science, is in a constant state of change. There
are two types of biological research: basic and applied.

Basic research Applied research

■ This type of research adds to the body of ■ This involves the application of discoveries
scientific knowledge to improve knowledge and made in basic research. These impact on
understanding. society and the environment and may be

How students should tackle this prescribed focus area

■ Identify and describe scientific principles on which the current research is based.
SR ■ Identify and describe the driving forces behind such research.
■ Identify and describe the current research and possible future directions of biological research.
■ Identify the publications (both scientific journals and the media) in which the research or analysis of
the research is reported and assess the reliability and validity of these sources.
■ Analyse the response of scientists and society to this current research.
■ Discuss the different viewpoints if there are contentious issues or new developments.
■ Outline any Australian achievements and involvements.
information—PFA H5

Donated blood and its products

NVE ■ analyse information from secondary sources to identify
and describe the products extracted from donated blood
and the uses of these products
H4 Background information only discovered 80 years later that people
have specific, inherited blood types and that
H5 Almost 200 years ago, humans trialled human- transfusions of incompatible blood groups were
BIOLOGY SKILLS to-human blood transfusions in an attempt fatal.
to treat massive bleeding and its associated Cross-matching of blood groups became
H12.3; H12.4
risks. At first, these transfusions gave mixed the first and critical step before blood donation
H13.1 results—some were highly successful, whereas could take place and, as the number of
H14.1; H14.3 others resulted in death in patients. It was successful transfusions increased, many lives


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 58 28/5/08 2:22:17 PM


were saved, particularly during wars. Since the

early 1900s, major advances in blood donation
technology have been made, largely driven by
the military.

Research challenges
The initial challenge facing blood transfusion
units was the lack of available on-site donors.
Research into blood donation technology
progressed and the shelf life of blood was
increased by adding chemicals such as citrate-
glucose, making the storage of blood and the
development of ‘blood banks’ possible.
Challenges facing blood banks continued,
including insufficient supplies, short shelf life
and the difficulty in transporting donated blood
under the necessary refrigerated conditions,
particularly in war zones. Up to half the deaths
of soldiers on battlefields were due to severe
Figure 2.21 Products
bleeding, because suitably stored donated This led to a new surge in research for safer of donated blood
blood could not reach them in time. blood products.
Continued research led to a move away One common trend that arose at around this
from using whole blood. Instead, donated time was a change from allogenic transfusion
blood was separated by centrifugation and
(blood donated by one person and transfused
filtration into its component parts, commonly
into another) to autologous transfusion
referred to as products of donated blood.
(collection of blood and its re-transfusion into
These products, including red blood cells,
the same person; for example, some patients
platelets, plasma and plasma proteins (or
alternative substitutes for these products) allow would donate their own blood and have it stored
the treatment of the particular need of each for their own future use, such as impending
patient by transfusing only the specific required surgery).
blood product into the patient. The use of blood Current research continues to try to
products rather than whole blood has tripled improve blood screening methods, as well as
the number of transfusions that can be given for to evaluate and improve the quality of stored
each unit of blood donated. blood and its products. There is also research
Research then began in earnest, directed to try to increase the shelf life by implementing
towards the development of better techniques new methods of preservation such as freeze
for processing and storing blood products to fractioning and recombinant manufacturing
increase their shelf life and make them easier to technology.
transport (for example, to battlefields and sites Another idea that arose as a result of
of natural disasters). Three main uses of blood ongoing shortages of blood and blood products,
products were identified and are still applicable was to create ‘artificial blood’—a suitable
today—to assist in blood clotting, to allow chemical blood substitute which could be
oxygen transfer and as volume expanders. transfused into patients to temporarily provide
An enormous problem which arose in the some of the essential life-giving functions of
1980s was the risk of contracting infections from blood until the patient’s bone marrow could
donated blood. Patients such as haemophiliacs, make enough blood to replenish their normal
who were regular recipients of blood products supply.
that contained coagulants, were particularly
Note: Research into the development
affected. (Recommended reading is the novel
of artificial blood will be dealt with in the
titled April Fool’s Day, written by Australian
secondary-source investigation on page 61, but
author Bryce Courtenay, based on the true
an understanding of the difficulties and risks
story of the life of his haemophiliac son.)
of transfusions of donated blood and blood
Blood and blood products were being
screened for infective agents, but the viruses products gives a good idea of the importance of
which caused diseases such as AIDS and the development of suitable blood substitutes.
hepatitis could bypass normal screening
methods, because of a ‘window period’ between Products of donated blood
the infection of the donor and the possibility of Blood products are currently grouped into two
their presence being detected in donated blood. main categories, depending on their shelf life:


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 59 28/5/08 2:22:20 PM


SR TR 1. Labile products are perishable blood ■ To assess the impacts of advances in

components that have a short shelf life biology on the development of technology
and must be transported under specific, (refers to PFA H3).
refrigerated conditions. Examples include ■ To assess the impacts of applications of
packed red blood cells, platelets, plasma, biology on society and the environment
plasma proteins and cryoprecipitate. (refers to PFA H4).
Student activity—
2. Stable products have a much longer ■ To identify possible future directions of
webquest: products of
shelf life and are produced by biological research (refers to PFA H5).
donated blood
fractioning (separating) the different Note: A guided worksheet with table
protein components from plasma or by templates and websites is provided on the
recombinant (genetic) manufacturing
Student Resource CD for this investigation.
SR methods. Examples include blood clotting
1. Identify four to six key events that shaped
factors, immunoglobulins and the blood
the history of donated blood and blood
protein albumin (all of these products are
products. List these events in chronological
associated with little or no plasma).
Blood products and blood substitutes can order and, for each, include a date and a
also be grouped according to their function. brief outline of the role that the event played
l t ttables—
bl in advancing blood transfusion technology
Some examples are listed below:
donated blood and (PFA H3).
blood products 2. Distinguish between allogenic and
Category (based on
function) Blood products autologous blood transfusions and give one
advantage and one disadvantage of each.
Blood volume Plasma, albumin
3. With progress in the technology of blood
donation and transfusion, there has been a
Oxygen carriers Packed red blood trend towards giving patients blood products
cells rather than whole blood. Describe the main
advantages of using blood products in
Coagulants Platelets, clotting
factors transfusions, rather than whole blood (refers
to PFA H4).
Products for immune Immunoglobulins 4. In the form of a table, list the normal
defence components of blood and the function of
each and then compare these with products
A table summarising blood components
extracted from donated blood and the use of
and the alternative donated products that can
each product.
be received in transfusions is available on the
5. (a) Outline the difficulties and risks
Student Resource CD. This table also provides
associated with transfusions (of whole
a column for students to complete when
researching the uses of the products of donated blood and of blood products) in general
blood. and in war zones specifically.
(b) Justify your answer (that is, use
Task evidence to support your answer).
(c) Outline current areas of research being
■ This is an inquiry-orientated, web-based
activity providing students with secondary carried out to make blood transfusions
sources in the form of a series of websites. safer and more efficient (PFA H5).
The information on each website should be 6. Select three products of donated blood (at
processed and analysed constructively to least one cellular product and one acellular
reach a conclusion. product) and prepare a detailed report
■ The questions to be researched are listed on each, covering information as outlined
below without any website references, but below. (Your answer to Question 4 may
they appear as a fully referenced web-based help you to decide which blood products
activity on the Student Resource CD, with to research. Additional information can be
relevant websites hyperlinked for each obtained from additional secondary sources
question. if necessary.)
For each product of donated blood:
Aims (a) describe how the product is produced
■ To identify and describe the products (b) discuss the uses, as well as the
extracted from donated blood and the uses difficulties and risks, associated with the
of these products. use of the product (PFA 4).


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 60 28/5/08 2:22:21 PM


Artificial blood and its importance

■ analyse and present information from secondary INVESTIGATION
sources to report on progress in the production of
artificial blood and use available evidence to propose
reasons why such research is needed H13.1
H14.1; H14.3
Background information during the Vietnam war (American and
Australian soldiers were there between 1962

and 1972). The search was on for an oxygen- TR carrying solution that could expand the blood
videopage.asp?vidid=135 volume and also deliver (release) the oxygen to
Videoclip: A haematologist tissues where it was required.
explains the importance of developing
artificial blood, the different types of artificial Research progresses slowly
blood, their advantages and the difficulties in Teaching strategy—
It was during this era that a breakthrough
stabilising and using these products. artificial blood
was made by Dr Leland Clark, who began
experimenting in the mid-1960s with
Progress in the production of oxygen carrying compounds know as
perfluorocarbons. Research into artificial
artificial blood
blood continued slowly and with poor results
In the past until the late 1980s, when active and urgent
In 1616 when William Harvey first described the research began in response to the sudden
circulation of blood, scientists started thinking appearance of HIV (the virus which causes
about whether blood could be replaced by other the disease AIDS) in patients who had been
liquids to cure diseases. (Wine and milk were given blood transfusions. This brought with it
amongst those considered!) concerns of the transmission of other infectious
Attempts to treat massive bleeding in diseases (such as hepatitis C) that have a
soldiers during World Wars I and II often failed similar ‘window period’ during which they
and this spurred on modern efforts to produce cannot be detected in donated blood—a further
artificial blood in the hope that this could prove incentive for progress to be made in research
more effective in replacing lost blood. of artificial blood.
Severe bleeding is a life-threatening The ideal characteristics expected in an
condition because of the loss of two main artificial replacement for blood have become
functions of blood: more complex and include characteristics that
1. transport of oxygen and its delivery to the were identified in the past as well as some new
cells requirements—that the product:
2. maintenance of fluid volume, water and salt ■ can be stored for long periods and easily
concentration and blood pressure in the transported
internal environment. ■ does not need to be cross-matched for
Although these functions could be served different blood types
by transfusing donated blood or blood products ■ can be produced in large quantities at low
into patients, blood transfusions bring with cost
them their own problems (as dealt with in the ■ is completely safe (has no toxic effects on
secondary-source investigation on donated the body and is free from disease)
blood). The need for artificial blood was at ■ does not trigger an immune response
first identified to overcome early setbacks ■ continues to circulate (does not settle
associated with transfused blood, such as: out) and, once the patient’s own blood is
■ cross-matching of blood types restored, may be safely excreted.
■ the short storage life (only a few weeks)
before donated blood and products must be Areas of research
discarded One area of research has been that of
■ the difficulty transporting blood into battle increasing the volume of blood after massive
zones. bleeding—saline solutions and other
There was a resurgence in military-driven compounds such as crystalloids and colloids
efforts in research for a blood substitute in the which act as blood expanders are commonly
1960s, in response to difficulties in supplying used. Saline solutions that replace lost
blood to soldiers in the hot jungle conditions electrolytes are also used.


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 61 28/5/08 2:22:22 PM


membrane. Future research involves enclosing

normal blood anaemia artificial blood the haemoglobin, with the required enzymes,
inside an artificial cell membrane—a lipid
vesicle—to increase the circulation time.
capillary Artificial red cells are currently being
developed as microcapsules of phospholipid
into which haemoglobin can be placed, but
red blood research is still in early stages.
too few red
cells artificial blood
blood cells
added to plasma Current research
oxygen delivery to poor oxygen delivery artificial blood At present there is no safe and effective artificial
tissues (represented to tissues increases oxygen blood product being used in Australia and the
as many grey dots) delivery to tissues United States of America, where scientists
continue to develop and test possible blood
Figure 2.22 Artificial replacements. However, the AIDS crisis in
blood increases oxygen The main area of current research, South Africa has been a driving force in it
delivery to tissues however, targets the transport of oxygen so becoming one of the first countries in the world
that it is easily picked up and, more importantly, to clear artificial blood for limited use in patients.
efficiently released where it is required. The brand Haemopure is made from stabilised
Three main types of oxygen carriers are bovine (cattle) haemoglobin in a balanced salt
being developed: perfluorocarbons (PFCs), solution; it has a shelf life of 36 months and can
haemoglobin-based oxygen carriers (HBOCs) be stored at room temperature. The Haemopure
and artificial red cells called microcapsules. molecule is 1000 times smaller than a red
Perfluorocarbons carry oxygen in a blood cell, allowing it to flow through partially
dissolved form. They can carry up to 50 times blocked arteries and so it may be useful in heart
more dissolved oxygen than plasma, enough surgery.
to supply sufficient oxygen to tissues in the Polyheme, currently awaiting approval in
absence of red blood cells. Australia and the United States of America, is a
The main difficulty with these products is in brand of artificial blood that has been produced
enabling them to mix with the bloodstream— in laboratories in South Australia. It is made
they must be combined with lipids to form an from modified haemoglobin from human red
emulsion. The lipid tested was approved by the blood cells. It can deliver oxygen up to three
Food and Drug Administration in the United times more efficiently than red blood cells.
States of America, but has not been successful Both of these have a very short circulation
because it cannot be given in large enough time (12–24 hours) compared with 50 days for
quantities to produce a significant result. donated red blood cells.
Future research includes improved versions Another area of current research is the
of perfluorocarbon emulsions for easier study of crocodile red blood cells. Using a
combination with blood. ‘neutron-scattering’ technique, scientists
Haemoglobin-based oxygen carriers have found that crocodile haemoglobin
(HBOCs) involve extracting haemoglobin from molecules can link together to form more
outdated donated human blood (or bovine stable haemoglobin (raw human haemoglobin
blood) and modifying it to a form in which it can tends to break up and enter the kidneys,
be used in artificial blood. Raw haemoglobin causing damage; linked crocodile haemoglobin
(haemoglobin not contained within red blood molecules do not enter the kidneys).
cells) cannot be used, as it exists in an
unstable form that is potentially toxic and can Advantages of artificial products
damage surrounding tissues and the kidneys The main advantages of the current artificial
in particular. It also has a greater affinity for bloods available is that they meet the following
oxygen than haemoglobin found in blood, expectations:
so it does not release oxygen as readily in ■ They can be sterilised.
tissues where it is needed. Current research ■ They can be stored for long periods of time.
for the development and use of HBOCs in ■ No cross-matching is needed (no cell
artificial blood involves the cross-linking of membranes).
the haemoglobin to enzymes found naturally ■ There is no risk of infection.
in blood, to create a more stable ‘second ■ Perfluorocarbons are relatively cheap to
generation’ HBOC that will not break down. produce.
They also have a short circulation time. No substitutes have been developed as
Second generation HBOCs will not be ideal yet to carry out immune defence or clotting of
as they are not protected by a red blood cell blood. These are areas for future research.


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 62 28/5/08 2:22:22 PM


Task the first experiments by Dr Leland Clark to SR

current research in Australia and the use of
Part 1: Questions Haemopure in South Africa.
(Recommended websites are available on the
Student Resource CD for research of all of the Part 2: Reporting on progress and
following questions.) proposal of reasons for research
Skill—a reportt text
t t
1. Describe what artificial blood is and outline
what it is used for. Skill: A report text type
2. Outline reasons why research into the
A report is a specific text type that identifies
production of artificial blood is important
and describes the features of something
(see the problems associated with blood
(for example, identify and describe artificial
transfusions in the previous task).
blood and the functional features it is
3. Identify the main driving forces that
expected to possess).
propelled research in the area of the
Reporting can also classify things
development of artificial blood at various
into categories (for example, the different
intervals in its history. In your answer, list
types of artificial blood currently being
three or four significant dates and names
(if available) and, for each factor, explain
How to prepare a report—see the
how it provided an important reason for the
Student Resource CD.
continuation of research to produce artificial
4. Identify the most important features Report and proposal
that were expected in an artificial blood
substitute in the past and new features that Developers of blood substitutes have formed
are expected in current developments. an international network—The International
5. Table 2.3 lists examples of artificial Society for Artificial Cells, Blood Substitutes
substitutes, grouped according to their and Immobilisation Biotechnology—to promote
functions. For each: their work and request a higher profile. Imagine
(a) give a brief description of the product that you are a member of this international
(b) describe the function it performs group and have been requested to seek
(c) discuss any advantage it has compared assistance from the Australian government for TR
with whole blood (or a similar product funding to subsidise further research within your
of donated blood) and one difficulty that organisation. Prepare a report on the progress
must still be overcome, with current of artificial blood and use available evidence
research. to propose reasons why such research is still
6. Outline the progress that has been made needed. Suggested answers for
in the development of artificial blood, from investigation

Table 2.3 Artificial blood substitutes

Category (based on function) Artificial substitute

Blood volume expanders Crystalloids and colloids

Oxygen carriers 1. Modified red blood cell antigen preparations

2. Cell-free haemoglobin preparations (HBOCs)
3. Liposome-enclosed haemoglobin (microcapsules)
4. Perfluorocarbon emulsions

Coagulants Not yet available

Products for immune defence Not yet available


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 63 28/5/08 2:22:26 PM


2.8 Transport of nutrients in plants

■ describe current theories about processes responsible
for the movement of materials through plants in xylem
and phloem tissue
The function of xylem and water mineral ions) are carried by
phloem in transport xylem tissue from the roots (the site
of absorption) up to the leaves where
The role of transport in plants is mainly
they will be used for the manufacture
to carry materials for photosynthesis
of food (photosynthesis). Xylem tissue
to the cells and to move cell products
away to other parts of the plant. In consists of xylem vessels, tracheids,
small plants, this may be achieved by fibres and parenchyma cells (Assumed
diffusion and active transport, but in Knowledge—see the Student Resource
larger plants, specialised vascular tissue CD).
has developed to serve this transport Most photosynthesis in plants occurs
function, since diffusion and active in the leaves. Phloem vessels are
transport by themselves would not be involved in the transport of organic
sufficient to move these substances over nutrient products (particularly sugars,
large distances. The vascular system in amino acids and plant hormones) to all
plants consists of vessels of xylem and parts of the plant. Movement occurs in
phloem and the movement of materials two directions—up towards the flowers
from one part of the plant to another is and down to the roots. Phloem tissue
known as translocation. consists of phloem fibres, phloem
Chemical substances that are parenchyma, sieve cells and companion
needed for photosynthesis (such as cells.

Theories about how materials been tested by examining whether
H2 move in xylem and phloem their consequences (predictions)
are borne out by observation and
Experimental evidence has shown experimentation. They have been
the type of materials that move modified over time, but the current
through xylem and phloem in plant most commonly accepted theories
SR stems and the directions in which are:
they move, but the explanation of ■ the transpiration stream theory
how this movement occurs in each is (cohesion-adhesion-tension theory)
presented as a theory—a scientist’s of movement of water and mineral
explanation of the phenomenon, ions in xylem
Assumedd kknowledge—
l d
structure and function
based on observation and evidence. ■ the pressure flow theory (source-
of the xylem and The theories of how movement of path-sink theory) of translocation
phloem substances occurs in plants have of organic nutrients in phloem.

Transport of materials in xylem: passive transport. A column of water is

the transpiration stream theory sucked up the stem by the evaporative
(cohesion-adhesion-tension theory) pull of transpiration and is known as
The transpiration stream in xylem the transpiration stream. More detail
occurs due to physical forces that result on how this occurs is given on the
from water (and ions) being moved by following pages.


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 64 28/5/08 2:22:28 PM


2 Figure 2.23 The

1 as the sun warms the leaves, stomata transpiration stream:
open and water evaporates through the moving water and
openings (transpiration occurs) mineral ions up xylem
2 increased evaporation at the leaf surface
creates a pull at the upper end of the
water column
3 the pulling force is extended to the water
column and creates a force that pulls
water upwards—the transpiration stream
(depends on properties of water)
4 this creates a force that pulls water into
the roots

dicot leaf 4


transverse section transverse section
young root dicot stem

Once water has been absorbed ■ Xylem vessels are hollow and
into the roots of plants (by osmosis) narrow, offering very little resistance
along with mineral ions (by diffusion to the flow of water.
and active transport), these substances ■ The physical properties of water
move across the root into the xylem. A contribute to the formation of a
small amount of root pressure results continuous stream: adhesive forces
from the continual influx of more water (the attraction between the water
and ions, forcing the solution already molecules and the walls of the
xylem vessels) lead to capillarity
present in the xylem upwards. This
(water rises up the narrow bore
pressure, however, is not sufficient to
(central lumen) of xylem), and
lift the water and ions very high.
cohesive forces (the attraction
Most of the upward movement in of water molecules to each other
xylem seems to be as a result of the to form a continuous stream).
transpiration stream—that is, water Together these forces ensure that
is drawn up the xylem tubes to replace a continuous column of water that
the loss of water from the leaves by moves upwards is maintained in the
transpiration (the evaporation of water xylem vessels.
through stomata). This is based on ■ A concentration gradient exists
evidence gathered by biologists: across the leaf:


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 65 28/5/08 2:22:28 PM


—At the surface of the leaf, the upwards (much like the suction pull
osmotic pressure is high (water when you drink through a drinking
concentration is low) because straw lifts the column of water). The
water is continually being lost by combination of adhesive and cohesive
evaporation through the stomata forces, together with the suction pull
(transpiration). of transpiration create the transpiration
—In the centre of the leaf (e.g. the stream. Mineral ions dissolved in
xylem and leaf tissues nearest the
the water are carried along by the
veins) the osmotic pressure is low
transpiration stream and can move out
(water concentration is high).
The flow of the transpiration stream by active transport, to reach the tissues
can be explained as follows. (Trace this where they are needed.
on the diagram provided in Fig. 2.23.) The only way that plants suffering
Water loss at the leaf surface (e.g. water stress can control water loss is by
from cells in the spongy mesophyll closing their stomata. However, stomata
to the air chambers of the stomata must be open for at least part of the
or through the guard cell opening) day so that carbon dioxide can enter for
results in the osmotic movement photosynthesis.
of water across from the adjacent
internal cells into those that have Transport of materials in phloem:
just lost some water. This osmotic the pressure flow theory (source-
flow continues across the leaf, right path-sink theory)
to the xylem tissue. When molecules Translocation in phloem tissue moves
of water leave the xylem and move products of photosynthesis (such as
along the concentration gradient, this glucose, sucrose and amino acids)
creates tension in the column of water by active transport. Up to 90% of the
rising up the xylem. Because of the
dissolved substances in the sap of
properties of adhesion and cohesion,
phloem is sucrose (common sugar
Figure 2.24 Pressure the water column does not break and
flow: moving organic so the whole column of water is pulled such as that which we have in tea and
nutrients in phloem coffee). When sucrose reaches the cells,
it may be converted back to glucose for
xylem phloem respiration or to starch for storage.
The flow of materials in phloem is
an active process that requires energy.
The mechanism of flow is driven by an
osmotic pressure gradient, generated
by differences in sugar and water
concentrations. It involves the active
leaf mesophyll loading sugar into phloem at one end
cell (known as the source) and then the
active unloading from phloem into
companion cell surrounding tissues it at the other end
(the sink). The loading of sugar into
phloem at the source attracts water
root cell
to flow in (because of differences in
osmotic pressure) and the offloading
sink at the sink causes water to flow out of
the phloem, hence the name ‘pressure


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 66 28/5/08 2:22:45 PM


Loading at the source Offloading at the sink

Amino acids, sucrose and other mineral Materials flow to the sink. At the sink
nutrients are loaded into the phloem in (for example roots, flowers or any other
the leaves. There are two theories as to parts of the plant that need nutrients),
how this may occur: sugars and materials are removed from
1. symplastic loading—sugars and other the phloem by active transport (see
nutrients move in the cytoplasm Fig. 2.24, red arrows). As sugars move
from the mesophyll cells to the sieve out of the phloem, they draw water out
elements through plasmodesmata with them (by osmosis). This results
(strands of cytoplasm that pass in a lower osmotic pressure (due to
through pits in the cell walls) the higher water concentration) in the
2. apoplastic loading—sugars and phloem at the sink region.
nutrients move along a pathway Pressure flow (along the ‘path’)
through the cell walls until they This difference in osmotic pressure
reach the sieve element. They then between the source and the sink in
cross the cell membrane to enter the the phloem drives the phloem sap to
phloem tube. These sugars pass into flow. The direction of flow depends
the sieve cell by active transport. on where the sink areas (roots or
As sugars enter the phloem, flowers) of the plant are, in relation to SR TR
the phloem sap becomes more the source (leaves). Water can move
concentrated and so the osmotic into the phloem by osmosis at any
pressure at the source end is high. This point along the gradient. The flow
draws water into the phloem, from the is continuous, because sucrose is Student worksheet—
adjacent xylem tissue, by osmosis (see continually being added at one end and transport in xylem and
Fig. 2.24, blue arrows). removed at the other. phloem


Create a flow chart to show the sequence of steps in pressure flow, from
loading the sugars at the source to offloading them at the sink. (Include
any changes in the osmotic pressure.)

Investigating xylem and phloem tissue in plants

(using a light microscope)
■ choose equipment or resources to perform a first-hand INVESTIGATION
investigation to gather first-hand data to draw transverse BIOLOGY SKILLS
and longitudinal sections of phloem and xylem tissue

Locating xylem and phloem in H12.1; H12.2

stems and roots of plants and the directions
plant organs in which plant material may be cut. (Also see H13.1
Examine Figure 2.23 and Figure 2.25 to Assumed Knowledge on the Student Resource H14.3
identify the location of xylem and phloem in the CD.)


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 67 28/5/08 2:22:46 PM




longitudinal epidermis
parenchyma xylem
sections: cells
A B cambium
phloem parenchyma (packing cells)
transverse/cross section: supporting tissue
S R (collenchymal sclerenchyma)

Figure 2.25 Diagram

representing cutting
planes in a plant organ
Microscopic examination of phloem Materials
and xylem Students should list all materials used.
Plant organs may be cut in different planes
(sections) in order to study the distribution of Safety
tissue within them. Students should identify risks and describe safe
TR There are two types of sections: work practices to overcome these (see Risk
■ A longitudinal section (L.S.) is cut along Assessment—Safety on the Student resource
the length of the organ (see Fig. 2.25). CD).
■ A transverse section (T.S.) or cross-
section is cut across the width of the organ Method
Light micrographs and (i.e. at right angles to the length—see
worksheet to assist Fig. 2.25). 1. Set up a slide of a longitudinal section of
students with the a plant root or stem (showing phloem and
investigation Task xylem) on the microscope.
It is strongly recommended that students 2. Locate the appropriate tissue types under
SR refresh their knowledge of the structure of low power using the additional notes in
xylem and phloem by referring to the diagrams the guided investigation on the Student
on the Student Resource CD under Assumed Resource CD and in Fig. 2.23. Identify the
knowledge: Diagrams of xylem and phloem colours that xylem and phloem are stained
distribution and structure. (see step 3 below)—this will help you to
Assumedd kknowledge
l d recognise them under high power.
and guided practical
Aim 3. Investigate the structure of:
investigation of xylem To observe and draw transverse and ■ xylem—most easily identified by its
and phloem tissue longitudinal sections of phloem and xylem. pink-stained walls


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 68 28/5/08 2:22:48 PM


■ phloem—appears green in colour, Results TR

elongate and much narrower than
parenchyma cells. 1. Highlight the tissue distribution of xylem
4. Using the most appropriate magnification, (pink) and phloem (green) provided on the
draw the phloem and xylem. Write a heading worksheet on the Student Resource CD
for your diagram, label each part identified (Fig. CD2.4).
2. Draw clear, fully labelled diagrams of each Drawings in biology
and state the magnification.
■ When drawing xylem in L.S., include of the following:
at least two different patterns of wall (a) T.S. xylem and T.S. phloem (seen in a
thickening. plant stem or root)
■ When drawing phloem tissue, include (b) L.S. xylem and L.S. phloem (seen in a
sieve tube elements, companion cells plant stem or root).
and sieve plates.
5. Remove the slide and repeat the process
using the slide of the transverse section. Write a conclusion for this investigation.
6. Answer the discussion questions on the
Student Resource CD. Discussion
See questions on the Student Resource CD.


1. Compare the role of haemoglobin in transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
2. Explain the adaptive advantage of haemoglobin in terms of its being pH sensitive.
3. In a table, identify the forms in which carbon dioxide is transported in the blood and the
proportion of each form.
4. Distinguish between the terms oxygenated and deoxygenated blood and identify in which blood
vessels in the body one would expect to find the mostly highly oxygenated blood and why.
5. Compare arteries, capillaries and veins in terms of the structure of their walls, the size of the
lumen and the direction of blood flow.
6. Explain,
Explain in terms of their functions, why:
(a) the walls of arteries need to be thicker than those of veins
(b) the walls of capillaries are so thin
(c) veins have valves.
7. Outline the advantages of the use of blood products as opposed to whole blood. SR TR
8. Identify the main substances that need to be transported in plants and state the importance of
these substances in the plant.
9. With the aid of a labelled diagram, illustrate the forces involved in lifting water and dissolved
mineral ions up the xylem.
Answers to revision
10. In a table, compare the translocation of materials in xylem with translocation in phloem. questions


Module 1-Chapter 2.indd 69 28/5/08 2:22:56 PM