Carbon is the main component of all known forms of life on Earth, is approximately 45-50% of the dry biomass. Carbon compounds occur in nature in great abundance on Earth. Complex biological molecules almost always consist of atoms of carbon bonded with other elements, especially oxygen and hydrogen and also nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur.
Because it is lightweight and relatively small in size, the carbon molecules of enzymes is easy to manipulate. It is often assumed in astrobiology that if life exists elsewhere in the Universe, it will also be carbon-based. Critics refer to this assumption as carbon chauvinism.
1. Features. (Особенности)
Carbon can form huge number of compounds, more than any other element, with almost ten million compounds described to date, and while this number is only a fraction of the number of theoretically possible compounds under standard conditions. For this reason, carbon is often called "the king of the elements". A huge variety of carbon containing compounds called organic compounds, led to the distinction between them and the compounds do not contain carbon are known as inorganic compounds. The branch of chemistry that studies organic compounds is called organic chemistry.
Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the earths crust and the fourth most abundant element in the Universe by mass, after hydrogen, helium and oxygen. Coal wide distribution, its ability to form stable bonds with many other elements, and its unusual ability to form polymers at temperatures commonly found on Earth allows it to serve the common element in all known living organisms. The study in 2018, carbon was found to be about 550 billion tons of all forms of life on Earth. It is the second most abundant element in the human body weighing about 18.5% after oxygen.
The most important characteristics of carbon as a basis for the chemistry of life that each carbon atom can form four valence bonds with other atoms simultaneously, and that the energy required to make or break the bond with the carbon atom is at the level required for the construction of large and complex molecules, which can be both stable and reactive. The connection of carbon atoms readily with other carbon atoms, it allows us to construct arbitrarily long macromolecules and polymers in a process known as coupling. "What we usually think of as life is based on chains of carbon atoms with some other atoms such as nitrogen and phosphorus", in Stephen Hawkings lectures 2008, "coal has a rich chemistry."
2. Key molecules. (Ключевые молекулы)
The most known classes of biological macromolecules, used in the basic processes of living organisms include:
- Nucleic acids that carry genetic information.
- Carbohydrates that store energy in a form that can be used with living cells.
- Proteins that are the building blocks from which the structures of living organisms are built this includes almost all enzymes, which catalyse organic chemical reactions.
- Lipids also store energy, but in a more concentrated form, and which can be stored for extended periods in the bodies of animals.
3. Other candidates. (Другие кандидаты)
There are not many other elements which seem to be promising candidates for maintenance of biological systems and processes, and fundamentally as carbon, for example, processes such as metabolism. The most frequently suggested alternative is silicon. In the Silicone of the groups interest in the periodic table with carbon, can form four valence bonds, and also bonds itself readily, though generally in the form of crystal lattices, not long chains. Despite these similarities, silicon is much more electropositive than carbon, and silica compounds do not easily recombine into various permutations in such a way that would most likely support lifelike processes.
4. Fiction. (Фантастика)
Reasoning about chemical structure and properties of hypothetical non-carbon-based life has been a constant theme in science fiction. Silicon is often used as a substitute for carbon in fictional beings because of their chemical similarities. In cinematic and literary science fiction, when man-made machines cross from nonliving to living, this new form is often cited as an example of non-carbon life form. Since the advent of the microprocessor in the late 1960-ies, these machines are often classified as a "silicon life." Other examples of fictional "silicon life" can be seen in the episode "the Devil in the dark" from Star trek: the Original series, in which living rock creatures biochemistry based on silicon, and in the X-files episode "Laundry", in which silicon-based organism was discovered in the crater of the volcano.
In the film adaptation of Arthur Clarks "2010" 1984, a character says that "whether we are based on carbon or silicon makes no fundamental difference, each of us should be treated with appropriate respect." This quote could be the basis Steve jobs quip when he introduced carbon in Mac OS X, "carbon. All forms of life are based on it".
- classes of carbon compounds, compounds of another element, or another solvent in place of water. The possibility of life - forms being based on alternative
- Anthropocentrism Carbon - based life Hypothetical types of biochemistry Particle chauvinism Darling, David. Carbon - based life Encyclopedia of Life Retrieved
- radionuclide, decaying with a half - life of about 5, 730 years. Carbon is one of the few elements known since antiquity. Carbon is the 15th most abundant element
- organization, or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent. Greenhouse gases, including the carbon - containing gases carbon dioxide and methane, can be emitted
- A carbon sink is a natural reservoir that stores carbon - containing chemical compounds accumulated over an indefinite period of time. Public awareness
- cycle, the carbon cycle comprises a sequence of events that are key to make Earth capable of sustaining life It describes the movement of carbon as it is
- A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. Offsets
- the carbon credit commodity traded on carbon markets or to establish the demand for carbon credits Correspondingly, examples for products based upon
- Low - carbon power comes from processes or technologies that produce power with substantially lower amounts of carbon dioxide emissions than is emitted
- Activated carbon also called activated charcoal, is a form of carbon processed to have small, low - volume pores that increase the surface area available
- reinforced plastic, or carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic CFRP, CRP, CFRTP, or often simply carbon fiber, carbon composite, or even carbon is an extremely
- The carbon microphone, also known as carbon button microphone, button microphone, or carbon transmitter, is a type of microphone, a transducer that converts
- Carbon sequestration or carbon dioxide removal CDR is the long - term removal, capture or sequestration of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to slow
- tar. Carbon black is a form of paracrystalline carbon that has a high surface - area - to - volume ratio, albeit lower than that of activated carbon It is
- A low - carbon economy LCE low - fossil - fuel economy LFFE or decarbonised economy is an economy based on low carbon power sources that therefore has
- Carbon nanotubes CNTs are tubes made of carbon with diameters typically measured in nanometers. Carbon nanotubes often refers to single - wall carbon
- Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing carbon emissions with carbon
- A zinc carbon battery is a dry cell primary battery that delivers about 1.5 volts of direct current from the electrochemical reaction between zinc and
- Carbon dioxide CO 2 is an important trace gas in Earth s atmosphere. It is an integral part of the carbon cycle, a biogeochemical cycle in which carbon
- Carbon monoxide CO is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless flammable gas that is slightly less dense than air. It is toxic to animals that use hemoglobin
- As the source of available carbon in the carbon cycle, atmospheric carbon dioxide is the primary carbon source for life on Earth and its concentration
- decrease carbon dioxide emissions associated with vehicles powered by various types of internal combustion engines while also considering the entire life cycle
- Carbon fixation or сarbon assimilation is the conversion process of inorganic carbon carbon dioxide to organic compounds by living organisms. The most
- A carbon print is a photographic print with an image consisting of pigmented gelatin, rather than of silver or other metallic particles suspended in a
- Carbon capture and storage CCS or carbon capture and sequestration or carbon control and sequestration is the process of capturing waste carbon dioxide
- A carbon monoxide detector or CO detector is a device that detects the presence of the carbon monoxide CO gas to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Carbon - neutral fuel is energy fuel or energy systems which have no net greenhouse gas emissions or carbon footprint. One class is synthetic fuel including
- Carbon tetrachloride, also known by many other names such as tetrachloromethane, also recognised by the IUPAC, carbon tet in the cleaning industry, Halon - 104
- 2014 study into the real - life diets of British people estimated their greenhouse gas footprints in terms of kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent per day:
- The carbon group is a periodic table group consisting of carbon C silicon Si germanium Ge tin Sn lead Pb and flerovium Fl It lies within
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