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IB DIPLOMA

BIOLOGY
PAST PAPER
QUESTIONS
ON
GAS EXCHANGE

1.
A major requirement of the body is to eliminate carbon dioxide (CO2). In the body,
carbon dioxide exists in three forms: dissolved CO2, bound as the bicarbonate ion, and bound to
proteins (eg hemoglobin in red blood cells or plasma proteins). The relative contribution of each of
these forms to overall CO2 transport varies considerably depending on activity, as shown in the
table below.
CO2 Transport in Blood Plasma at Rest and During Exercise
Rest

Exercise

Arterial

Venous

Venous

mmol l blood

mmol l blood

mmol l blood

dissolved CO2

0.68

0.78

1.32

bicarbonate ion

13.52

14.51

14.66

CO2 bound to protein

0.3

0.3

0.24

Total CO2 in plasma

14.50

15.59

16.22

7.4

7.37

7.14

Form of transport

pH of blood

[Source: Geers and Gros, Physiological Reviews (2000), 80, pages 681715]

(a)

Calculate the percentage of CO2 found as bicarbonate ions in the plasma of venous blood
at rest.
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(1)

(b)

(i)

Compare the changes in total CO2 content in the venous plasma due to exercise.
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(1)

(ii)

Identify which form of CO2 transport shows the greatest increase due to exercise.
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(1)

(c)

Explain the pH differences shown in the data.


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(3)
(Total 6 marks)

As intensity of exercise increases, humans respond to the increased need for gas exchange in
two ways: varying ventilation rate and varying tidal volume. Experimental data for a runner on
a treadmill are shown below.

80

2 .8

T id a l v o lu m e

2 .6

Ve n tila tio n ra te

2 .4
2 .2

60

2 .0
50
1 .8
40

1 .6

T id a l Vo lu m e / litre s

70

Ve n tila tio n ra te / m in

2.

1 .4
30
1 .2
1 .0

20

T re a d m ill s p e e d / k m h

[Source: www.home.hia.no/~stephens/ventphys.htm]

(a)

Outline the relationship between treadmill speed and tidal volume.


(i)

up to 14 km h

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(1)

(ii)

above 14 km h

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(1)

(b)

Compare the trend in ventilation rate with the trend in tidal volume at a high treadmill
speed.
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(1)

(c)

Calculate the total volume of air inhaled per minute when the treadmill speed is 15 km h
1
.

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(2)

(d)

Suggest how the ventilation rate and tidal volume might alter if treadmill speed were
increased even further.
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(2)
(Total 7 marks)

3.
Research into how the lungs perform during general anesthetics has increased because
there are so many pulmonary complications during operations. It is believed that many inhaled
anesthetics affect pulmonary epithelial permeability.
Pulmonary clearing is an indication of whether the alveolar-capillary barrier has been damaged.
It can be measured as the rate at which radioactivity decreases in lungs after inhalation of a
radioactive aerosol. The greater the clearing rate, the greater the damage to the alveolarcapillary barrier. Smoking and lung diseases (such as cancers and asthma) also significantly
increase the clearing rate of radioactive aerosols.
In an experiment, doctors wanted to test the effect of inhaled anesthetics on the permeability
between the alveoli and capillaries. Patients were tested by inhaling a radioactive aerosol one
day before their operation and one hour after their operation.
Three groups of patients each received a different type of anesthetic.
Group 1 :1% halotane

inhaled anesthetics
Group 2 :1.5% isoflurane

Group 3: intravenous anesthetic (phentanyl and propofol)


D e v ia tio n

M ean

1 .5

1 .0

0 .5

0 .0

b e fo re
a n e s th e tic

a fte r
a n e s th e tic

G ro u p 1

2 .0

2 .0

C le a rin g ra te / % m in

C le a rin g ra te / % m in

2 .0

1 .5

C le a rin g ra te / % m in

K ey:

1 .0

0 .5

0 .0

b e fo re
a n e s th e tic

a fte r
a n e s th e tic

1 .5

1 .0

0 .5

0 .0

b e fo re
a n e s th e tic

G ro u p 2

a fte r
a n e s th e tic

G ro u p 3

[Source: Chang Lai et al., Respiration, (2000), Vol II, 3, pages 202206]

(a)

Compare the effect of each inhaled anaesthetic on the permeability of the alveoli.
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(2)

(b)
Using the data from the graphs, explain whether or not inhaled anesthetics are more
dangerous than intravenous anaesthetics.
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(3)

(c)

Suggest one reason why asthmatic patients were not used in this experiment.
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(1)
(Total 6 marks)

4.

Explain the way the body acclimatizes to gas exchange at high altitudes.
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(Total 3 marks)

5.

Draw a diagram of the human gas exchange system.


(Total 5 marks)

6.

Explain the need for, and the mechanism of, ventilation of the lungs in humans.
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(Total 8 marks)

7.

The human gas exchange system is highly adapted so that oxygen and carbon dioxide are
exchanged in the most efficient way possible. Choose and state four of these adaptations and
explain how each contributes to efficiency of the gas exchange system.
1. ...............................................................................................................................................
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2. ...............................................................................................................................................
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3. ...............................................................................................................................................
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4 ...............................................................................................................................................
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(Total 8 marks)

7.

(a)

State one hormone that increases the blood glucose level.

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(1)

(b)

Outline why heavy breathing continues after strenuous exercise is completed.


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(2)

(c)

Explain the effect of exercise on ventilation rate.


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(4)
(Total 7 marks)