Oxygen Cycle: Process and Importance
Have you ever wondered how the Oxygen Cycle process maintains the level of oxygen on this planet earth? Even after the inhalation of oxygen by the trillions of people, oxygen constitutes a constant of 21% of the air in the atmosphere. This brings to astonishment how a cycle can be so efficient that it keeps the balance of oxygen on the earth.
We live in this beautiful World. Some basic needs are necessary and vital for us to live on this earth, such as water, food, etc. The most important from all of them include oxygen that we breathe. Everyone consumes oxygen in order to live their life. Still, as said, the oxygen cycle is responsible for why this oxygen remains freely available in the atmosphere even after its huge consumption. All these questions, facts, and curiosity to search the solution can be found in the below article. Let us understand and study how this happens.
Table of Contents
What is an Oxygen Cycle?
The oxygen cycle is a biological process that helps maintain the level of oxygen through three main spheres of the earth, including:
- Atmosphere (layer of gases presents above the earth’s surface)
- Lithosphere (solid outer section along with the earth’s crust)
- (ecosystem together build biosphere)
In other words, it is the cycle that helps to move oxygen through the three central regions of the earth, i.e., the Atmosphere, the biosphere, and the Lithosphere. If we look at the oxygen constitution in these spheres, then we get to know that the largest reservoir of oxygen is the lithosphere, after that atmosphere and at the last biosphere. Now it’s time to look at what process this cycle contains.
The process involved in the Oxygen Cycle:
Production of Oxygen:
Photosynthesis – Photosynthesis is a biological process by which all green plants, with the help of sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide, synthesize their food to create energy and oxygen gas which is liberated as a by-product of this process.
The process of photosynthesis is written as 6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6 + 6O2.
(Carbon Dioxide + Water → Glucose + oxygen)
Sunlight – Sunlight also produces oxygen. When the sunlight reacts with water vapor in the atmosphere, it produces oxygen gas. In brief, the energy from sunlight brings out a chemical reaction that breaks down the carbon dioxide molecules and water, which again organizes and leads to the sugar (glucose) and oxygen gas formation.
Consumption of Oxygen:
Respiration is the process in living organisms that involves energy production, with the intake of O2 and the release of CO2 from the oxidation of complex organic substances inside the body. It is one of the major processes in which animals and humans inhale or consume oxygen to release Energy and Carbon dioxide as a by-product.
The reaction involved in this is: C6H12O6 (s) + 6 O2 (g) → 6 CO2 (g) + 6 H2O (l) + heat
It is also one of the most important processes for maintaining the oxygen level in the atmosphere. It occurs when we burn organic material, including fossil fuels, plastics, and wood, in the presence of oxygen in the atmosphere and releases carbon dioxide as a product.
Decomposition is an essential process in which dead organic substances are broken down and decayed into simpler organic or inorganic matter such as carbon dioxide, simple sugars, water, and mineral salts. It is also one of the natural and the most important phenomena in the cycle and occurs when an organism dies. Further, this process is carried out by decomposers, which include fungi, bacteria, and some insects. This entire process needs oxygen resulting in the release of carbon dioxide.
Rusting or Corrosion –
Rusting is the process of formation of oxides, which requires the need for oxygen to occur. This process is also known as oxidation. In this process, when the metal is exposed to the moisture and oxygen for a more extended period, it leads to the formation of new compounds of oxides on the metal.
Learning Points of Oxygen Cycle:
- The oxygen cycle is the biochemical cycle that helps to move oxygen through the three central regions of the earth, i.e., the Atmosphere, the biosphere, and the Lithosphere.
- It involves the production and consumption of oxygen, which leads to a constant level of oxygen available in the atmosphere.
- Oxygen present in the atmosphere is used for combustion, decomposition, and for producing energy and releasing Carbon dioxide.
- Plants, in the process of photosynthesis, utilizes carbon dioxide, which results in the production of oxygen and energy.
- This oxygen goes back to the atmosphere, and the same cycle continues.
Importance of Oxygen cycle –
- Oxygen plays a vital role in our life. Without oxygen, it is impossible for any living being to survive on this earth. Thus, it is essential that the level of oxygen on this earth must remain maintained through any means. That is what the oxygen cycle does for us.
- We know oxygen is a must for combustion. If in case the depletion of oxygen occurs, it will hamper the process of combustion. Thus, oxygen cycle helps to keep the balance of oxygen in the atmosphere.
- Oxygen is an indispensable part of our life. Decomposers need a preferable amount of oxygen to carry out the process of decaying the waste material. Thus, the cycle helps in the process of decomposition too.
After learning what Oxygen Cycle is and the process involved in it, now you might have understood why its presence is vital in the atmosphere. We learned that the oxygen cycle phenomenon is efficient in balancing the ratio of oxygen present in the environment. And It is mandatory to have a life on this earth.
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