Living Matter

Living Matter

 

(1) The aggregate of living bodies of biosphere organisms, which are expressed numerically by elementary chemical composition, mass, and energy. The term “living matter” was introduced by V. I. Vernadskii. Materially and energetically the biosphere is connected with living matter through the biogenic migration of atoms that occurs with breathing, eating, growth, and the multiplication of organisms. Living matter is exemplified by autotrophic organisms (green plants and autotrophic microorganisms), heterotrophic organisms (plants without chlorophyll, all animals, and human beings), and mixotrophic organisms, which live on ready-made organic compounds, although they are also able to synthesize them.

Living matter is very active, chemically and geologically. It is scattered in myriads of individuals that are continually dying and being born, expending a large amount of active energy. In the biosphere, living matter does a great amount of work and constitutes a great geological force of planetary character determining the face of the earth. One manifestation of the geological work is living matter’s part in creating organogenic sedimentary rocks (for example, coal, bitumen, limestones, and petroleum), which are called the Vernadskii biogenic material of the biosphere. Bio-inert substances are also formed with the participation of living matter: almost all the water of the biosphere, the soil, the weathering crust, and so forth. The role played by living matter as a geological factor is evident in its control of all the basic chemical changes in the biosphere.

The biogeochemical functions of living matter may be divided into five groups: gaseous, concentration, oxidation-reduction, biochemical, and finally, the biogeochemical functions of human beings. All the functions are carried out in the external medium, except for the biochemical, which take place inside the organisms. The gaseous composition of the atmosphere is determined by the gaseous functions of living matter; the predominant mass of gases on our planet is biogenic. The result of the action of living matter is to create its basic gases (N,, O,, CO,, H,S, CH4, and others). The concentration functions of living matter include accumulation by the organisms of biogenic elements from the surrounding medium. The composition of living matter is clearly different from that of the inert matter of the planet. The living matter contains a predominance of light atoms (H, C, N, O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, P, S, Cl, K, Ca). These elements are present in all living organisms, forming there the chemical compounds primarily encountered in living matter. The amounts of certain elements in some organisms are tens, hundreds, and even thousands of times more than in the external medium. This results in nonuniformity of the biosphere’s chemical composition. The oxidation-reduction functions of living matter lead to most substances being chemically converted. Biogenic oxidation and reduction processes predominate on the earth’s surface. The biochemical functions are connected with the growth and multiplication of organisms, which lead to an increase in their number and in the mass of living matter. The pressure of living matter on the ambient medium, called by Vernadskii the pressure of life, is an expression of the energy of growth and multiplication and is different in different groups of organisms. Other manifestations of the biochemical function of living matter are processes connected with the decomposition of organisms after death, that is, the conversion of living matter into inert matter. These processes give rise to the biogenic and bio-inert materials of the biosphere. The biogeochemical functions of humanity, which are primarily conditioned by human technological activity (technogenesis), are a form of creation and conversion of materials in the biosphere that is connected with its transition to a new state, the noosphere, when man becomes a new geological force on the planet.

A. N. TIURIUKANOV

(2) A term introduced in the 1950’s by the Soviet biologist O. B. Lepeshinskaia to designate a noncellular substance from which the cells of animals, plants, and microorganisms can supposedly be formed, even today. In this meaning, the concept of living matter is not scientific; it has been replaced by a more precise term—”precellular, or noncellular, forms of life.”

References in periodicals archive ?
3 : a bit of living matter (as a cell) capable of forming a new individual or one of its parts
'Nanotoxicology' publishes articles addressing research into the interactions between nano-structured materials and living matter (the 'wet-dry interface').
The subject of this book is the application of quantum theories to living matter, then to modelling the brain and, finally, to modelling consciousness.
In Chapter 3 Vitiello introduces how in the same years different approaches have been introduced in the physics of living matter (dissipative structures, long-range correlation in QFT).
Vitiello introduces as `the bridge between the microscopic and macroscopic levels allowed by QFT in condensed matter physics is also exploited in the case of living matter' (p.
The non-perturbative dynamical origin of coherence explains how living matter uses informationless (incoherent) input to generate order (coherence).
The subject of long range correlation in the brain and in living matter received many experimental confirmations, such as in memory where the destruction of local parts does not affect recall.
In 1996 Pope John Paul II quoted the teaching of Pope Pius XII that "if the origin of the human body is sought in living matter which existed before it, the spiritual soul is directly (emphasis mine) created by God" (ref.15 and 16).
Since then, however, its development has been stifled by social and political pressures, and only now is it emerging as a powerful tool, capable of providing glimpses into the inner structures of a wide variety of fossil or living matter.
Pius XII stressed this essential point: if the human body takes its origin from pre-existent living matter, the spiritual soul is immediately created by God ("animas enim a Deo immediate creari catholica fides nos retinere iubet"; encyclical Humani generis, AAS 42 [1950], p.
Consequently, theories of evolution which, in accordance with the philosophies inspiring them, consider the mind as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a mere epiphenomenon of this matter, are not compatible with the truth about man.
In conclusion, I would like to call to mind a Gospel truth which can shed a higher light on the horizon of your research into the origins and unfolding of living matter. The Bible in fact bears an extraordinary message of life.