Define iron - the micronutrient, Biology

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Define Iron - The Micronutrient

Iron, as you may be aware, is a trace element present in the body. The body contains approximately 3 - 3.5 g of iron of which about two thirds is physiologically active and remainder is storage iron. Out of the physiological iron, virtually 90% is present as haemoglobin and about 5% as myoglobin and I % as haem enzymes such as cytochromes. Iron is a major constituent of a red-coloured compound haemoglobin present in the blood. Haemoglobin, we already know, is the complex protein-iron compound in the blood that carries oxygen to the cells from the lungs and carbon dioxide away from the cells to the lungs. Blood haemoglobin concentration serves as the indicator for anaemia.

Nutritional anaemia, as we already know, is defined as a condition in which the haemoglobin. concentration is below the level that is normal, for a given individual, due to deficiency of one or more of the nutrients required for haemopoiesis and conversely, as a condition in which the haemoglobin concentration can be raised by increasing the amount of nutrient(s) absorbed. Therefore estimation of haemoglobin is an important tool for assessment of anaemia. In this practical, activity 4 we shall learn about the process of haemoglobin estimation. It is estimated that up to half of all anaemia found in population group is caused due to dietary deficit of iron. Just a little amount required, but iron performs some very significant functions in our body. The study of iron, its functions, sources and estimation in food items or any sample is therefore very fascinating.

 


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