Why Is Phosphorus Essential to Living Things?

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Phosphorous is an essential component of life because it is a major component of ATP, which is how cells store energy. Learn about the role of phosphorous as an essential component of DNA and RNA with help from a science teacher and field biologist in this free video on biology.

Part of the Video Series: Biology & Organic Chemistry
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Brian with ericksontutoring.blogspot.com. Today, we're going to discuss why phosphorus is essential for all living things. First and foremost, in my opinion, phosphorus is essential because it's a major component of ATP. ATP is how cells store energy, and in particular, the energy in ATP comes from some unstable bonds between phosphate molecules. So without that, who knows exactly how cells would be able to store energy. In addition, phosphorus is an essential component of DNA and RNA, and it also is a major component of phospholipids. Phospholipids form cell membranes with their polar heads and non-polar tails, and so without phospholipids, cells would also have to come up with some other way to regulate what comes in and out. So that's my answer to why phosphorus is essential for living things.

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