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Recycled Oxygen Molecules


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#1 Daaisy

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 03:36 AM

Hi,
Are the oxygen molecules in the troposphere, the very same oxygen molecules that have been in and out of every other flora , fauna and humans in the past and present?? So in essence is the oxygen molecules being recycled in our atmosphere and in a fundamental sense binds all living entities ???

#2 exchemist

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 03:53 AM

Hi,
Are the oxygen molecules in the troposphere, the very same oxygen molecules that have been in and out of every other flora , fauna and humans in the past and present?? So in essence is the oxygen molecules being recycled in our atmosphere and in a fundamental sense binds all living entities ???

To a large extent, yes, I think. 

 

However there is a degree of capture and release of carbon dioxide always going on. Since photosynthesis generates oxygen from the carbon dioxide in the air, some of which comes from CO2 released by decomposition of plant matter, volcanoes and so on, some of the oxygen in the atmosphere now may have come from oxygen atoms that were bound up in plants or under the ground.  



#3 OceanBreeze

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 08:32 AM

Hi,
Are the oxygen molecules in the troposphere, the very same oxygen molecules that have been in and out of every other flora , fauna and humans in the past and present?? So in essence is the oxygen molecules being recycled in our atmosphere and in a fundamental sense binds all living entities ???

 

No. The individual atoms that make up the molecules are the same, but the molecules change over time.

 

You may want to read this: 

Breathing ancient air

#4 JMJones0424

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 08:49 AM

Read the source you cite, OceanBreeze.  Oxygen atoms are oxygen atoms unless they undergo nuclear processes.  Biological processes are not nuclear processes.  So, the answer to the question is yes, except for the rare occurrence that an oxygen atom is brought to the Earth from extraterrestrial means.



#5 OceanBreeze

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 10:10 AM

Read the source you cite, OceanBreeze.  Oxygen atoms are oxygen atoms unless they undergo nuclear processes.  Biological processes are not nuclear processes.  So, the answer to the question is yes, except for the rare occurrence that an oxygen atom is brought to the Earth from extraterrestrial means.

 

I see you don’t know the difference between an atom and a molecule.

 

The question was about oxygen molecules. It takes two Oxygen atoms to make an oxygen molecule and the answer to the question is obviously NO, as the article I cited says molecules are forever being “rearranged and recycled through biochemical and geochemical processes, so you aren’t breathing in the exact same gas molecules that dinosaurs and Julius Caesar once breathed”

 

Try reading it again, but I don’t expect you to ever admit to being wrong about anything.



#6 JMJones0424

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 10:33 AM

You're right, I didn't answer the question asked.



#7 JMJones0424

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 10:51 AM

Are the oxygen molecules in the troposphere, the very same oxygen molecules that have been in and out of every other flora , fauna and humans in the past and present?? So in essence is the oxygen molecules being recycled in our atmosphere and in a fundamental sense binds all living entities ???

No.  As OceanBreeze has shown, the oxygen containing molecules that we ingest can not be the same as those in the past as the biological processes that we rely on require removing or adding oxygen atoms to other molecules.  So, by definition, every time you exhale, you are changing oxygen molecules.

 

Does this in a fundamental sense bind all living entities?  No, unless you can show that oxygen atoms are physically different than other atoms and can carry some kind of information that other elements do not.

 

Carbon recycling is far more important to our life than oxygen recycling, but even then, the number of protons in the atom isn't in any way significant other than how the atom reacts to our environment.



#8 Daaisy

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 11:51 AM

To a large extent, yes, I think.

However there is a degree of capture and release of carbon dioxide always going on. Since photosynthesis generates oxygen from the carbon dioxide in the air, some of which comes from CO2 released by decomposition of plant matter, volcanoes and so on, some of the oxygen in the atmosphere now may have come from oxygen atoms that were bound up in plants or under the ground.



#9 Daaisy

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 11:56 AM

Then considering that volcanoes are not frequent phenomenon, so the majority of the oxygen molecules are perpetually binding to other molecules and circulating in and out of all living entities , right. So the oxygen atoms rotating in circulation r essentially the same ....?..

#10 Daaisy

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 12:05 PM


No. The individual atoms that make up the molecules are the same, but the molecules change over time.

You may want to read this: Breathing ancient air



#11 JMJones0424

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 12:10 PM

Yes, the atoms are the same, no the molecules are not the same.  An atom of oxygen is defined by the number of protons it contains, and it will not change regardless of the geochemical processes that it undergoes.  The only way to make an atom of oxygen to not be an atom of oxygen is to change its number of protons.  This is a nuclear process.

 

 

 

hen considering that volcanoes are not frequent phenomenon, so the majority of the oxygen molecules are perpetually binding to other molecules and circulating in and out of all living entities , right. So the oxygen atoms rotating in circulation r essentially the same ....?..

 

I'm not sure I understand your question.  An atom of oxygen will not cease to be an atom of oxygen unless it undergoes a nuclear process.  Biological and geological processes do no change the number of protons in the atom, instead, they just change which atoms it is bound to.


Edited by JMJones0424, 08 May 2018 - 12:12 PM.


#12 Daaisy

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 12:10 PM

Wow, this was really helpful. So ( forgetting the past and just considering the present, for a bit) just taking into account the people of a nation - are more likely to be ingesting/ recycling the same oxygen atoms ....

#13 JMJones0424

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 12:21 PM

Yes. the vast majority of oxygen we consume is the same atoms as that which was consumed by people two millenia ago.  The same is true for Hydrogen, and for Calcium, and for Magnesium, and for Iron, and for all other elements.

 

The difference is when we dig up elements that were not previously in circulation, such as hydrocarbons.

 

We can measure the difference between carbon elements that would regularly be in circulation versus those that we have dug up by measuring the number of neutrons in the atom.  This is known as the isotope.  We can show that there exists more carbon in the atmosphere than there would otherwise be because we can measure the ratio of carbon-14 and carbon-13 to carbon-12.


Edited by JMJones0424, 08 May 2018 - 12:25 PM.


#14 exchemist

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 02:00 PM

Wow, this was really helpful. So ( forgetting the past and just considering the present, for a bit) just taking into account the people of a nation - are more likely to be ingesting/ recycling the same oxygen atoms ....

I have a slightly different take on it. 

 

If you consider a breath of air you take in, some of the oxygen goes into your cells, is converted to CO2 or water, and is exhaled again. What happens to the CO2? It probably hangs around in the atmosphere for years, until a plant takes it for conversion to sugar. (Oxygen is also released but that comes from splitting water in the plant, not from the CO2.) So now the oxygen you exhaled as CO2 is in a sugar molecule in a plant. Then what? The plant uses that sugar to make starch for its seeds or cellulose for its growth. If it is cellulose for its growth, then it will not get back into the environment again (as water or CO2)  until the plant dies and decomposes. In the case of trees this could be centuries. And then it still has to find its way into water that another plant uses in photosynthesis, releasing oxygen molecules again. 

 

So, if you actually track the path of an individual oxygen atom, it seems to me that it may not get back into the form of atmospheric oxygen gas for centuries! This is still very short on a geological timescale but not in terms of human lifespans.  

 

P.S. I've just seen this more or less what Ocean Breeze's link says. My fault for not reading it first!



#15 Daaisy

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 02:07 AM

Ya, so whether the release of oxygen from plants is from the water it intakes or from its decomposition process, ( directly or indirectly) this in essence boils down to a terrarium like environment. Where these basic atoms that r the building blocks of life are continously being recycled and reused, just in different forms ( water/ air we breathe etc). Its like a self sustaining atmosphere.

#16 Daaisy

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 02:08 AM


No. The individual atoms that make up the molecules are the same, but the molecules change over time.

You may want to read this: Breathing ancient air



#17 Daaisy

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 02:09 AM

This link is seriously helpful. Thanks @oceanbreeze