why do red blood cells have a large surface area

Blood is used to transport materials around the body, and to protect against disease. In order to see this content you need to have both enabled and installed. Visit
It's a mixture of cells, solutes and liquid Red blood cells transport oxygen. White blood cells protect against disease. Blood platelets help the blood to clot. These carry oxygen from the lungs to tissues. Oxygen transport is efficient because: there are huge numbers the cells are tiny the cells have a flattened disc shape to increase surface area they contain haemoglobin Red blood cells have a large surface area to volume ratio to allow rapid diffusion of oxygen.


Haemoglobin absorbs oxygen to form bright red oxyhaemoglobin in oxygen rich environments. In oxygen deficient environments this processes is reversed. White blood cells can engulf bacteria and other pathogens by phagocytosis. They can change shape easily and produce enzymes that digest the pathogens. In order to see this content you need to have both enabled and installed. Visit Other types of white blood cell secrete antibodies that help destroy pathogens. In order to see this content you need to have both enabled and installed.


Visit Plasma is a straw-coloured liquid. It transports dissolved substances around the body, including: nutrients, such as water, glucose, amino acids, minerals and vitamins waste substances, such as carbon dioxide and urea Respiration that requires oxygen. Proteins produced by the body's immune system that attack foreign organisms (antigens) that get into the body. Foreign organisms that get into the body, and trigger an immune response. Single-celled microorganisms, some of which are pathogenic in humans, animals and plants. Singular is bacterium. The liquid part of the blood containing useful things like glucose, amino acids, minerals, vitamins (nutrients) and hormones, as well as waste materials such as urea.


Bodily system made up of the heart, blood vessels and blood that delivers nutrients and other essential materials to cells whilst removing waste products. When particles spread out from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration. The movement of particles (molecules or ions) from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration. A protein which catalyses or speeds up a chemical reaction. The red protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen round the body.


The body's defence system against diseases and infections. To protect from a disease, especially by inoculation. White blood cells which attack pathogens by producing antibodies. White blood cells (lymphocytes) that remain in the body after the immune response to an infection has finished. They reproduce rapidly if the body is reinfected, producing a faster and greater immune response. The nucleus controls what happens inside the cell. Chromosomes are structures found in the nucleus of most cells. The plural of nucleus is nuclei.


Living entity, eg animals, plants or microorganisms. Microorganism that causes disease. Cells, such as white blood cells, that engulf and absorb waste material, harmful microorganisms, or other foreign bodies in the bloodstream and tissues. The area of the surface of an organism or membrane. A type of natural poison produced by an organism, often as a form of protection. A space within the cytoplasm of plant cells that contains cell sap. The volume of a three-dimensional shape is a measure of the amount of space or capacity it occupies, eg a can of cola has a volume of 330 ml.

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