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Free hydrogen in humans

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Free hydrogen in humans

Postby squeehunter » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:54 pm

Is there anywhere in the human body where there are free hydrogen atoms for any period of time?
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Postby canalon » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:08 am

As protons (H+) a lot, all the time. See in particular mitochondrion.
As H2 hydrogen gas, I doubt, maybe a few bubbles in the gut? Not even certain.
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Postby squeehunter » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:25 pm

See, I thought they were involved with proton pumps but then I read that those are only in non-human cells. And yeah, I just mean protons/hydrongs. Not actual gasses.
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Re: Free hydrogen in humans

Postby jonmoulton » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:37 pm

Protons are used in human cells, in particular in the mitochondria. Without chemiosmosis you'd die pretty quickly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemiosmosis

The ATPase is basically a proton pump running in reverse.
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Postby squeehunter » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:44 pm

Thanks a lot. And just to be sure, these are just free protons floating around, and not a part of a molecule right? And this takes place inside human cells? I don't know much about this.
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Postby mith » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:00 pm

They're not floating, they're ions in water. In any sample of water, you'll have free hydrogen ions.
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Postby squeehunter » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:05 pm

I'm sorry everyone, I'm getting confused. So are there in the human body, hydrogen atoms that are not part of molecules? Just normal hydrogen atoms with or without an electron and THAT'S IT aka, not stuck to a another hydrogen or oxygen or carbon atom or molecule or water molecule? Just free to move around until it hits something important.

I'm confused because sometimes I see "protons" being used as terms for H3O+.
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Postby mith » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:41 pm

If this place exists, the atom is probably not going to be very stable i.e. will almost immediately stick to something else.
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Postby JackBean » Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:44 am

no, there is never free proton (H+) in water (AKA in human or any other body), it is always bound to water, thus H3O+, but it's kind of convenient and historical to write it as H+ only.
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

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