Henry Cavendish of England
Necessary for all life.
Named from the Greek words meaning “water forming”, hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, making up nearly 75% of all matter. It is a very light, colorless, odorless gas and is highly flammable.
Hydrogen is essential to life. It is one of the six bulk elements and it is the third most common element in the human body. Hydrogen is a component of water, without which, life could not exist. Hydrogen also is a constituent of DNA and most other organic molecules. Pure hydrogen is not used by higher life forms, but is metabolized by some types of bacteria.
Role in Life Processes
Percentage Amount in the Human Body: 10%
Most hydrogen is obtained from a reaction between methane gas and water. It also is produced by the reaction of water and metallic iron at high temperatures. Hydrogen also is obtained from the electrolysis of water. Hydrogen is present in many minerals as a component of water.