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Article: Organic compound

Organic compound

Definitions and History of Organic Compounds

  • Organic compounds contain carbon-hydrogen or carbon-carbon bonds.
  • Inorganic compounds may contain carbon but lack carbon-hydrogen or carbon-carbon bonds.
  • Alkanes and their derivatives are universally considered organic.
  • Halides of carbon without carbon-hydrogen and carbon-carbon bonds are sometimes considered inorganic.
  • Compounds of carbon with nitrogen and oxygen may be considered inorganic.
  • Vitalism was the belief that organic compounds were formed by a vital force possessed only by living organisms.
  • Jöns Jacob Berzelius argued for the existence of a regulative force within living bodies.
  • Friedrich Wöhler's experiments disproved vitalism by synthesizing organic compounds from inorganic ones.
  • Modern scientific nomenclature still distinguishes between organic and inorganic compounds.
  • The term 'carbogenic' has been proposed as an alternative to 'organic'.

Vitalism and Discrediting of Vitalism

  • Vitalism taught that organic compounds were fundamentally different from inorganic compounds.
  • It was based on the belief that substances found in organic nature were formed by a vital force.
  • Vitalism was discredited after experiments by Friedrich Wöhler and others.
  • Wöhler synthesized organic compounds from inorganic salts, disproving the need for vitalism.
  • The formulation of modern ideas about atomic theory and chemical elements further questioned vitalism.

Modern Classification and Ambiguities

  • The modern definition of organic compounds includes any carbon-containing compound.
  • The term 'organic' does not necessarily imply a connection to living organisms.
  • Some carbon-containing compounds are excluded from the definition of organic, such as alloys containing carbon.
  • There is no consensus on which carbon-containing compounds should be excluded from the organic category.
  • Inorganic compounds include metal carbonates, simple oxides of carbon, and cyanide derivatives without organic residues.

Exclusions from Organic Compounds

  • Alloys containing carbon, such as steel, are generally excluded from organic compounds.
  • Metal and semimetal carbides, including ionic and covalent carbides, are considered inorganic.
  • Metal carbonates, simple oxides of carbon, and allotropes of carbon are also excluded from organic compounds.
  • Cyanide derivatives without organic residues, halides of carbon without hydrogen, and other exotic oxocarbons are inorganic.
  • Some metal carbonyls, like nickel tetracarbonyl, are classified as organometallic compounds and may be debated as organic.

Classification of Organic Compounds

  • Organic compounds can be classified as natural or synthetic.
  • Heteroatoms can be used to further classify organic compounds, such as organometallic compounds and organophosphorus compounds.
  • Size is another classification criterion, distinguishing between small molecules and polymers.
  • Natural compounds are produced by plants or animals.
  • Many natural compounds are still extracted from natural sources due to cost considerations.
  • Examples of natural compounds include sugars, alkaloids, terpenoids, and certain nutrients.
  • Synthetic compounds are prepared by reactions of other compounds.
  • Many polymers, including plastics and rubbers, are organic synthetic compounds.
  • Synthetic compounds can be either naturally occurring compounds or artificial compounds.

Organic compound Data Sources

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