MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Are carbon dioxide & bicarbonate (salt or ion) considered organic compounds

Date: Tue Dec 1 07:42:38 1998
Posted By: Timothy Mascal, Chemistry/HPLC, Waters Corp.
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 909623029.Ch

For a quick answer, no. But I'll explain some more. Just because a compound 
contains carbon, it does not mean that it's organic.I found a good 
explination of what chemistry is at:

What constitutes Organic Chemistry?

The nature of Organic Chemistry has changed greatly since 1828. Before that 
time the scientific philosophy known as
"Vitalism" maintained that Organic Chemistry was the chemistry of living 
systems. It maintained that Organic Compounds could
only be produced within living matter while Inorganic compounds were 
synthesized from non-living matter. Even the word
"organic" comes from the same root as the word "organism" or "organ". 
However people like Professor Wohler beginning in
1828 determined that it was indeed possible to synthesize organic compounds 
from those compounds that were considered
inorganic. One of the first organic compounds synthesized from basically 
inorganic compounds was the compound Urea which
is a metabolic product of urine. It was synthesized from Ammonium Cyanate 
considered a compound produced outside of
living matter and therefore considered inorganic. Since then many millions 
of Organic compounds have been synthesized "in
vitro" in other words outside living tissue. 

Organic Chemistry has developed into a branch of Chemistry that focuses 
upon the carbon containing compounds. It has just
recently been expanded to include compounds of Silicon since Silicon is 
similar in behavior to Carbon being in the same group
within the Periodic Table. Given that the main material in which 
micro-chips of the computer age have as their foundation is
Silicon, it is fitting that the main element establishing living organisms 
should be merged with the main element involved in the
inanimate machine world. 

                           Families of Organic Compounds

Organic Chemistry is the largest branch and fastest growing branch of 
Chemistry. Generally Organic Chemistry is manageable
by classifying organic compounds into "families". Each family consists of 
compounds that have a chemically active center of the
molecule called the family's "functional group". All members of a 
particular family have similar Chemistry because their
functional group is the center of Chemical activity. Some of the families 
include the following: 

     Alkanes (all single bonds) 
     Alkyl Halides (involving at least one halogen bonded to a carbon) 
     Alkenes (at least one Carbon - Carbon double bond 
     Alkynes (at least one Carbon- Carbon triple bond) 
     Aromatic Compounds (involving the molecule Benzene, Napthalene, 
Anthracene, etc) 
     Alcohols (at least one OH group) 
     Thiols (similar to alcohols except Sulfur (SH) instead of Oxygen 
     Ethers (at least one Oxygen single bonded to two carbons) 
     Thioethers(similar to ethers except a Sulfur atom in place of an 
Oxygen atom) 
     Aldehydes (at least one formyl group -CH=O) 
     Ketones (at least on keto group C=O) 
     Carboxylic Acids (at least one carboxyl group -COOH) 
     Amines (at least one Nitrogen bonded to Hydrogen or carbon atoms) 
     Amino Acids (at least one amino group NH2 and one carboxyl group 
     Carbohydrates (at least several OH groups and a formyl or keto group) 
     Organometallics (where we have ionic bonding between a metal and a 
carbon structure) 

There are other families that have been added as the years have progressed. 

Needless to say that Organic Chemistry is a mammoth field which involves 
life long learning. 

R. H. Logan, Instructor of Chemistry, Dallas County Community College 
District, El Centro College.

If you would like more information on Organic Chemistry and what it 
involves there are many search engines you can use to search for Organic 

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