What ways do organic compounds differ from inorganic compounds?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Organic compounds are composed of carbon and usually oxygen and hydrogen. Inorganic compound are everything else.

    Source(s): Life science
  • 1 decade ago

    An organic compound is any member of a large class of chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. For historical reasons discussed below, a few types of compounds such as carbonates, carbon oxides and cyanides, as well as elemental carbon are considered inorganic. The study of organic compounds is termed organic chemistry, and since it is a vast collection of chemicals (over half of all known chemical compounds), systems have been devised to classify organic compounds.

    A few of the compound classes based on so-called functional groups they carry are alcohols, aldehydes, alkenes and amines. A large group of organic compounds belong to the aromatic compounds because they share a common benzene ring somewhere in their structure. Organometallic compounds are a special group of organic compounds that incorporate a metal atom which make them a hybrid between organic and inorganic chemistry. Many polymers, including all plastics are organic compounds as well.

    Many organic compounds are also of prime importance in biochemistry: antigens, carbohydrates and sugars, enzymes, hormones, lipids and fatty acids, neurotransmitters, nucleic acids, proteins, peptides and amino acids, vitamins and fats and oils to name just a few.

    Traditionally, inorganic compounds are considered to be of mineral, not biological, origin. Complementarily, most organic compounds are traditionally viewed as being of biological origin. Over the past century, the precise classification of inorganic vs organic compounds has become less important to scientists, primarily because the majority of known compounds are synthetic and not of natural origin. Furthermore most compounds considered the purview of modern inorganic chemistry contain organic ligands. The fields of organometallic chemistry and bioinorganic chemistry explicitly focus on the areas between the fields of organic, biological, and inorganic chemistry.

    Inorganic compounds can be formally defined with reference to what they are not—organic compounds. Organic compounds are those which contain carbon, although some carbon-containing compounds are traditionally considered inorganic. When considering inorganic chemistry and life, it is useful to recall that many species in nature are not compounds per se but are ions. Sodium, chloride, and phosphate ions are essential for life, as are some inorganic molecules such as carbonic acid, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, water and oxygen. Aside from these simple ions and molecules, virtually all species covered by bioinorganic chemistry contain carbon and can be considered organic or organometallic.

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