Albert Szent-Györgyi was a Hungarian biochemist. He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937.
He is credited with discovering vitamin C and the components and reactions of the citric acid cycle. He was also active in the Hungarian Resistance during World War II and entered Hungarian politics after the war.
This summary of his ideas about the role of water is nothing short of astounding.
Read on and be amazed.
The role of water in biological structures and functions has consistently been underestimated by conventional science, primarily because of an understandable focus on larger, more complex, and seemingly more relevant molecules that are believed to set biological organisms apart from other aspects of the observable world.
Biochemist and Nobel laureate Albert Szent-Györgyi believed the reason that biologists have stumbled in their understanding of living systems is that they have tended to focus on particulate matter and to regularly exclude water.
He maintained that all biological functions consist of the building and destruction of water structures, such that water is part and parcel of the living machinery (not merely it's medium) and water is the very essence of the living state.
Water’s role in the assembly, activation, functioning, maintenance, and recycling of biological structures (e.g., proteins, DNA, membranes) is so profound that few biomolecules could exist in a recognizable or life-sustaining form without it.
Some scientists have suggested that water is not an optimal solvent for life’s biochemistry and that all of the water's unusual physical properties may not be required to sustain biological life. Whereas life elsewhere in the universe may utilize solvents such as ammonia (rather than water) as its matrix, the fact that water is an integral player in earthly life suggests that its roles are not limited to the physical and chemical processes currently identified by science.
Does water have a more fundamental role than solvating biomolecules?
Might water serve as the primary mediator of information in biological life forms?
Water can certainly mediate the flow of information among biomolecules (e.g., DNA, proteins) and between forces (e.g., EM radiation) and biomolecules through conformational changes in hydration envelopes, integral (bound) water, and hydrogen bonds.
Some researchers have characterized biological life as a process of ever-repeating alternations between information and conformation, such that a change in one always reflects a change in the other. It appears that water both contributes to biological structuring and is, itself, structured by biological forms, perhaps occurring in an iterative manner or as a conformational exchange between the two. While the answer is unknown, it might be useful to assume a range of perspectives from which to ask questions about water.