Oxygen is one of the most common elements in
living things, the Earth, and the entire universe.
One of the most important characteristics of
oxygen is that it is highly "electronegative"
which means that it has a tendency to attract
electrons. As a result, it can react with
nearly all elements in the universe to make
"oxides" which are chemical compounds that
contain oxygen. Oxygen is a major component of air
and water. Many living things undergo
"respiration" in which oxygen is necessary for the
organism to create the large amounts of energy
needed to sustain life. The importance of oxygen
in respiration is due to its electronegativity
since at the end of respiration it combines with
hydrogen to form water. Oxygen is also the waste
product of plants during photosynthesis where they
combine sunlight, CO2, and water to
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