View Full Version : Three classes of ions?

2012-May-04, 01:08 PM
Apparently there are at least 3 classes of ions which perhaps should have different names. The first two usually kill cells, so the immune system has to repair the damage. These are not beneficial, except they modify DNA producing diversity in the next generation of each kind of animal. In theory, this could be an energy source for some kinds of animal, but I don't think any are know which use this strategy. The third kind of ion has one electron moved to an unnatural sub-orbital, and reverts to the natural position emitting a photon of ordinary light or infrared photon. My guess is these are rarely harmful or beneficial except as a light source to allow animals to see. I have not seen a discussion of what they do inside cells when the photon is emitted, except ultraviolet and more energetic photons are destructive.
In the first two classes of ion, one, several or all of the electrons are missing. These are destructive by variable amounts depending on the speed and on the nucleus which determines which element and isotope. Possibly these are called free radicals, but I'm uncertain. Please correct, refute and/or embellish. Neil

2012-May-04, 01:26 PM
I am pretty sure you are talking about free radicals in the first part - they can be charged and uncharged. I suspect that mainly because ions are absolutely critical to living things, they could never be described as 'not beneficial'. The third type of 'ion' just seems to be an excited atom - or an excited ion. They are rather important to chlorophyll as well as bioluminescence.

2012-May-04, 01:44 PM
Just to add to what Shaula said, there are only two "classes" of ions, positively charged (cations) and negatively charged (anions). I don't know of any other types. I also suspect the discussion is really about free radicals.

Do you have a reference you got this information from?

2012-May-05, 08:15 PM
As Shaula said, you definitely don't mean ions. Most inorganic compounds and a lot of organic compounds only exist in water solution as ions. Water itself self-ionizes, which is an important factor in chemistry. Proteins are polymers of amino acids, which are also ionic. Even fats are largely composed of fatty acids. If you removed all ionic compounds from a human body, you'd end up with little more than a puddle of hydrophobic lipids and sugars.

Free radicals are not necessarily ionized. Neutral atomic oxygen would be a free radical. They are highly reactive atoms or fragments of molecules that are only stable in isolation. They can cause cell damage in the wrong place, but are a critical part of some biological processes. And an atom or molecule with an electron in an excited state is neither a free radical nor an ion.