Definition of organic chemistry and organic compounds

Organic chemistry
Organic chemistry is that branch of chemistry which deals with the study of compounds of carbon with hydrogen (hydrocarbons), and their derivatives. Presently about five million organic compounds are known.

Since the synthesis of urea from ammonium thiocyanate, many organic compounds were prepared and analyzed. While organic chemistry was defined as the chemistry of organic compounds containing carbon as their constituent element, many inorganic compounds such as carbon dioxide carbon monoxide, calcium carbonate also qualify to the same criteria. Studies further revealed that organic carbon compounds are invariably associated with hydrogen and its derivatives.

All living systems obtain their energy from organic compounds like carbohydrates (sugars) and fats, using amino acids and proteins (organic) to grow. They transmit genetic information from one generation to the next through organic compounds called nucleic acids. The clothes we wear are of natural fibres like cotton, while wool or silk or synthetic materials like polyester are organic compounds. Most of the drugs and pharmaceuticals are also organic compounds. In agriculture too, organic chemistry is well represented. Fertilizers like urea, pesticides like DDT, malathion and gammaxene, and plant growth regulators are all organic chemicals. Among various energy sources, fossil fuels like coal, lignite, petroleum and natural gas are of organic origin. Commonly used polymers natural and synthetic like wood, rubber, paper and plastics are again organic compounds. Thus, organic compounds play an important part in our daily lives.

Organic chemistry
The compounds of carbon generally containing carbon-carbon bonds are called organic compounds. These occur in carbon compounds with hydrogen and their derivatives. For example, ethyl alcohol, sugar, starch are organic compounds.

Reasons for studying organic compounds as a separate branch of chemistry

Organic compounds are studied as a separate branch of chemistry because of the following reasons:

  • Existence of innumerable organic compounds.
  • Properties of organic compounds are distinctly different from those of inorganic compounds.

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