Science Of Oxygen
by Karl Loren
Last Revised On
May 23, 2012 4:49 PM
The air we breathe is more or less
20 percent oxygen and 80 percent nitrogen. There are very tiny
traces of other elements, but less than one percent total. The
components of that "less than 1%" are, however, vital to understand
and vital for our health.
These "other" components are so
tiny that instead of listing them in "percentage" terms, they are
usually referred to as "ppm," or "parts per million."
If you have one million parts of
air, and ONE of those parts is, for instance, carbon dioxide, then
you could say that carbon dioxide is "1 ppm." It would
probably be confusing to say 0.0001%. Many people wouldn't
even know how to speak that term, vocally.
Carbon Dioxide happens to be
extremely important to life on the planet -- since no plant could
grow without taking carbon dioxide IN. The plants, in turn,
"breathe out" oxygen. That is the cycle of life. Plants
breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Animals, and
man, breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide.
But the amount of carbon dioxide
in the "air" is tiny -- measured in "parts per million."
The picture on the left is a measuring device for carbon dioxide,
used in farming applications. It is a simple piece of science
that plants use carbon dioxide rather like humans use oxygen.
Plants breathe in carbon dioxide, and cannot grow without it --
also, they generally prosper when they have MORE carbon dioxide,
just as humans prosper when the get "extra" oxygen." Click on the picture to jump to
a full description of this measuring device.
How many parts per million are
Well, 170 PPM of carbon dioxide
was, for thousands of years, plenty to keep the cycle of life going
on the planet -- there was enough carbon dioxide in the air to keep
millions of square miles of green stuff growing. The amount of
carbon dioxide has
now increased to more than 300 PPM! That is considered an
astounding increase by weather scientists -- and it is THIS number
which gives rise to tremendous political disputes, using phrases
such as "global warming" and motivating "Green Parties" around the
planet to advocate cutting back on the use of energy, often
appearing to suggest we all revert to some primitive and presumably
happy life style.
data presented above is the subject of an electronic study aide --
this is a free service from this web site. Click on the image
to the left and you can jump to the Vibrant Life Electronic Study
Aide specifically to a Study Aide on
the material presented above.
The information presented here is VERY carefully dry and
politically correct. Normally this type of data is presented
in a context of the disaster awaiting the planet if "something"
isn't done yesterday. Many people have used the data on this
page to "prove" many things. I, Karl Loren, wish to draw
only the simple undeniable conclusion that the percentage of
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased dramatically over
time, with the largest rate of increase from 1830 to present time.
What you might want to conclude from this is somewhat up to you,
but I suggest that the very air we breathe, despite its relatively
constant percentage of oxygen, contains other components
(including carbon dioxide) that could well be a major factor in
amount of carbon dioxide shown with these very, very precise
studies varies from a very stable range of about 175 PPM over a
period of some 1800 years from the year 1000 to 1830.
After 1830 the
amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased dramatically
to where it is now, at about 320, or so, PPM. This
virtual doubling in 150 years, compared to almost no change for
1800 years may have dramatic consequences on health. (Data
In the early centuries,
if the carbon dioxide would
increase for any reason, the plants went wild with joy, ate it all
up, and grew fast and big. That might happen because some
year, or period of years might have warm, good growing weather,
while other years had poor growing conditions.
Currently, however, with the CO2
amount increasing dramatically, there was a
puzzle -- scientists have been puzzled about this.
There has been an increase of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, and
normally we would expect the plant life to flourish.
This turns out STILL to be true in
simple "controlled situations:"
Although carbon dioxide is one of three main components which
combine to produce the products necessary for plant growth, the
amount of carbon dioxide in the air is only 0.03% (250 to 330
parts per million). This compares to 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and
0.97% trace gases in normal air. Numerous tests have proven that
during the winter months carbon dioxide concentrations inside
greenhouses is invariably much lower than in outside air. This
same phenomenon has been shown in controlled environment gardens.
Note that "within" a greenhouse
there is undoubtedly soil nutrients that are often missing from soil
"out in the open."
The amount of carbon dioxide
in the air around the planet, generally, has been increasing steadily over a period of
many years. This should bring about a lush and rapid growth of
The truth about this is not
"politically correct." The real reason for the lack of use of
this rich resource is lack of proper minerals in the soil, and
absence of a special "soil organism" that helps convert minerals
(rocks) into a form that the roots of plants can absorb. These
organisms used to abound in nature, but the use of chemical
fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and over-use of the land has so
depleted the soil of minerals, particularly trace minerals, that our
food supply is not only, itself, devoid of many of these
health-giving minerals, but the plants just don't grow. Plants
which are starved for minerals are much more prone to plant
diseases, insect damage and even fire. This is not a new
discovery by Karl Loren, but the news is so outside the main stream
of accepted reality that few people have heard this news.
As a scientist and organic
gardener, I understand how both bacteria and plants grow in their
natural environments. Plants are passive organisms, and require
substantial help in order to grow in the soil. This help is
provided by soil microorganisms. Plants can make all their own
proteins, sugars, and vitamins, but they cannot do so without help
from their friends in the soil (see the essay on the nitrogen
cycle). There is one exception to this rule. If the plants are
provided with all the necessary soluble minerals, they can grow in
the absence of microorganisms, e.g. hydroponically. However,
unless a mineral can dissolve in water, it cannot enter the roots
of a plant. It is a simple concept, but one that is easy to
forget. In the lab, plants and microorganisms can grow nicely in
water that has been spiked with soluble minerals. The
microorganisms won’t grow as fast (because they have to make all
their proteins and vitamins from inorganic building blocks), but
they will grow as long as they are provided with a source of
sugar. Plants make their own sugar from CO2 in the air. In the
soil, minerals exist in forms that are not appreciably soluble in
water. As a consequence, minerals can sustain plant life, but
their presence is not sufficient to insure rapid and sustained
plant growth. In the soil, this is the role of microorganisms and
one of the reasons composted organic matter is such a powerful
There have been very dramatic
changes in the composition of the very air we breathe over these
many years. It was not always the way it is now!
How would you discover whether or
not there was more, or less, oxygen in the air in some distant past?
Or, more or less carbon dioxide? Well, there are ice-bergs, and layers of ice in the polar areas
where the "dating" technique suggests that the ice is more
than 400,000 years old. When that ice was formed it was
common for bubbles of air to get captured in some space -- a space
that was then covered over, like a door closing. That space
may then have been buried in many thousands of feet of ice -- so that it
was preserved for all these long years.
Now, it would not be difficult to
drill down to the ice that was created 400,000 years ago, take a
sample, carefully open up that bubble of captured air
and measure the amount of oxygen or other tiny components in THAT air!
Fascinating. This has been
A team of
scientists will search the snowpack for 100 year- old air samples
at the South Pole this January, to investigate what the air
quality was like during the last century.
The pockets of
air trapped in the snowpack will provide scientists with a
historical record of gases that were present in the atmosphere
during this period. Researchers will then be able to analyze this
record for clues to how human activity has influenced atmospheric
by the same research team published in the journal
in1996 and in 1999, indicated that the composition of the
atmosphere has changed dramatically over the past 100 years,
presumably because of human activities. (source)
How much has the air changed, based on these
very scientific measurements?
Stocker, as well, underlines
the significance of the rate of increase in greenhouse gas
concentrations. He and colleague Andreas Schmittner looked at the
problem through experiments with a simple, coupled
atmosphere-ocean climate model in which a final carbon dioxide
concentration of 750 ppm was attained over different time spans.
They found that the thermohaline circulation weakens when the
increase in carbon dioxide to 750 ppm is relatively slow, spanning
several centuries or more. However, when the rate of increase in
atmospheric greenhouse gases (expressed as CO2) is
similar to today's rate of growth (1% per year)--or the
concentration of 750 ppm is reached in 100 years--the thermohaline
circulation permanently shuts down. (Source)
I could go on, and quote dozens or even
hundreds of studies. Usually these studies are written in such
gobbly-gook language that you wouldn't understand them. But,
with a bit of effort you can come to the conclusion that while the
percentage of oxygen in the air we breathe today compared to what man
was breathing some hundreds of years ago is quite steady.
However, the amount of carbon dioxide is clearly changing --
This change in CO2 has spawned what is almost
entirely a "political" debate -- since if the CO2 buildup is CAUSED
by burning of fossil fuels, AND is harmful, then we should,
possibly, reduce use of fossil fuels -- the very political claim
made by numerous "green parties." If, as I suggest is true,
the increase in CO2 is a problem relating to the depletion of
minerals in the soil, then the "solution" is very different.
There are some fairly reasonable pieces of
research done on this subject, including the following:
conclusion there is ample evidence that a significant cooling
occurred for several centuries starting around 1450 AD. This
cooling caused significant changes in the distribution of plant
and animal life and in the way man responded to the environment.
The causes for this cooling may have derived from a combination of
changes in the energy output of the sun and changes in the
atmosphere of the earth which resulted from volcanic activity that
reduced the amount of energy absorbed.
This uncertainty as to the cause for this cooling which so
markedly affected life should warn those who demand that the Earth
responds only to massive (forceful) events. Very subtle changes in
the factors determining climate during the Little Ice Age
occurred. One wonders how much greater they need be to cause a
true ice age. (Source)
I would like to "leave" the subject of how the
atmosphere of our planet is being polluted by carbon dioxide.
The change is undeniable. The effects are not nearly so well known.
I suggest to you that when the carbon dioxide
in the air INCREASES, it is not healthy for your body, and that you
suffer, then, from the equivalent of a decrease in OXYGEN in the air
you breathe. The percentage of oxygen may be about the same,
but you need MORE oxygen when you are breathing in a much larger
amount of carbon dioxide.
To repeat the true science, man
"breathes out" carbon dioxide and "breathes in" oxygen. If his
"breathing in" process includes roughly double the amount of carbon
dioxide as our ancestors (or only 200 years ago) did, that could
explain a great deal of the change in degenerative diseases that
exist now, in great abundance compared to their almost complete
non-existence 200 years ago.
Whether YOU, or "WE" can reduce the amount of
carbon dioxide in the air we breathe is a good question, but mostly
it is a question for nations and the planet. If there is a way
that you can handle this shortage of "good air" on a personal level,
that should be of interest.
That is what this web site is all about!
Where does the oxygen come from -- and how have
these sources failed to keep up the supply of oxygen in our air?
If you look back at the origin of oxygen, on
planet earth, there is not much agreement:
The origin of our earth's
atmosphere is still subject to much speculation. However, one
theory seems fairly certain; that when the earth was formed some
five billion years ago, it was probably too hot to retain any of
the atmosphere it had to begin with. Based on our knowledge of
gases in the universe, this first atmosphere probably consisted of
helium, hydrogen, ammonia and methane. (Source)
Fortunately, for today's health problems, we
don't have to go back to the ancient history of earth for useful
data. We can look at the earth right now, and see where the
oxygen comes from.
Right now, tiny
single-celled sea plants called phytoplankton produce almost half
the oxygen you breathe.
Fewer plants could worsen the
problem of excess rain, starting a vicious cycle. As plants grow,
they take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Fewer plants mean
more carbon dioxide in the air. Carbon dioxide, like soot, absorbs
the Sun's heat and causes even more rain. (Source:
The Science Of Oxygen certainly needs to
include a large coverage of the subject of the
Science Of Oxygen gets into some deep subjects when you really want
to understand WHY Oxygen is so vital, and yet, in other forms, so
deadly. That area of study actually involves understanding
some atomic physics. I've been studying atomic physics for 20
years -- it has not easy since I had no formal school training.
But, it IS the type of research I do best -- relying on my IQ and
curiosity to take me into various subjects, and my communication
skills to understand the student so well that my courses are
successful in their teaching mission. Click on the image to go
to my special web site where all my electronic courses are
administered. This course is free and you can "test the waters." See
how much you can learn with ease.
damage by oxygen free radicals suggests an accelerating
degradation of mt function over time. Accumulating mutations in
the genes encoding electron transporters (NADH dehydrogenase,
cytochromes, and coenzyme Q) lead to decreased transfer
efficiency, which, in turn, leads to higher production of
superoxide and hydroxyl free radicals. Mutations in ribosomal and
transfer RNAs lead to inefficient or errant translation of
proteins encoded by the mt genome.
There is growing
evidence for this "mitochondrial theory of aging." Since 1988,
mutations in mt genes have been implicated in a number of
degenerative diseases - including Alzheimer disease, mitochondrial
myopathy, Kearns-Sayre syndrome, CPEO (chronic progressive
external phthalmoplegia), Leigh syndrome, Pearson syndrome, dystonia, and diabetes. Not surprisingly, most of these diseases
affect organs and tissues that have a high demand for energy. Mt
mutations also accumulate in tumor cells, and are so highly
amplified that often they can be detected in bodily fluids.
This web site is a breath of fresh air in a world of pollution.