Overview Of Organic Chemistry Biology Essay

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To understand life as we know it, we must first understand a little bit of organic chemistry. Organic molecules contain both carbon and hydrogen. Though many organic chemicals also contain other elements, it is the carbon-hydrogen bond that defines them as organic. Organic chemistry defines life. Just as there are millions of different types of living organisms on this planet, there are millions of different organic molecules, each with different chemical and physical properties. There are organic chemicals that make up your hair, your skin, your fingernails, and so on. The diversity of organic chemicals is due to the versatility of the carbon atom. Why is carbon such a special element?

Carbon (C) appears in the second row of the periodic table and has four bonding electrons in its valence shell Similar to other non-metals, carbon needs eight electrons to satisfy its valence shell. Carbon therefore forms four bonds with other atoms (each bond consisting of one of carbon's electrons and one of the bonding atom's electrons). Every valence electron participates in bonding, thus a carbon atom's bonds will be distributed evenly over the atom's surface. These bonds form a tetrahedron (a pyramid with a spike at the top), as illustrated below:

Carbon forms 4 bonds

Organic chemicals get their diversity from the many different ways carbon can bond to other atoms. The simplest organic chemicals, called hydrocarbons, contain only carbon and hydrogen atoms; the simplest hydrocarbon (called methane) contains a single carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms:

Methane - a carbonatom bonded to 4 hydrogenatoms 

But carbon can bond to other carbon atoms in addition to hydrogen.

In fact, the uniqueness of carbon comes from the fact that it can bond to itself in many different ways. Carbon atoms can form long chains;

branched chains


There appears to be almost no limit to the number of different structures that carbon can form.  To add to the complexity of organic chemistry, neighboring carbon atoms can form double and triple bonds in addition to single carbon-carbon bonds.

Simple hydrocarbons.

The simplest hydrocarbons are those that contain only carbon and hydrogen. These simple hydrocarbons come in three varieties depending on the type of carbon-carbon bonds that occur in the molecule.

Alkanes are the first class of simple hydrocarbons and contain only carbon-carbon single bonds. The alkanes are named by combining a prefix that describes the number of carbon atoms in the molecule with the root ending "ane". The names and prefixes for the first ten alkanes are given in the following table.
























































The chemical formula for any alkane is given by the expression CnH2n+2,

Combustion reactions.

Combustion reactions with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water vapor. In other words, many alkanes are flammable. This makes them good fuels.

CH4+ 2O2 CO2+ 2H2O

The combustionof methane


The second class of simple hydrocarbons, consists of molecules that contain at least one double-bonded carbon pair. Alkenes follow the same naming convention used for alkanes. A prefix (to describe the number of carbon atoms) is combined with the ending "ene" to denote an alkene. Ethene, for example is the two- carbon molecule that contains one double bond. The chemical formula for the simple alkenes follows the expression CnH2n. Because one of the carbon pairs is double bonded, simple alkenes have two fewer hydrogen atoms than alkanes.


Alkynes are the third class of simple hydrocarbons and are molecules that contain at least one triple-bonded carbon pair. Like the alkanes and alkenes, alkynes are named by combining a prefix with the ending "yne" to denote the triple bond. The chemical formula for the simple alkynes follows the expression CnH2n-2.



Because carbon can bond in so many different ways, a single molecule can have different bonding configurations. so they have the same molecular formula but different structural formula.

Functional groups

In addition to carbon and hydrogen, hydrocarbons can also contain other elements. In fact, many common groups of atoms can occur within organic molecules, these groups of atoms are called functional groups. One good example is the hydroxyl functional group. The hydroxyl group consists of a single oxygen atom bound to a single hydrogen atom (-OH). The group of hydrocarbons that contain a hydroxyl functional group is called alcohols. The alcohols are named in a similar fashion to the simple hydrocarbons, a prefix is attached to a root ending (in this case "anol") that designates the alcohol. The existence of the functional group completely changes the chemical properties of the molecule. Ethane, the two-carbon alkane, is a gas at room temperature; ethanol, the two-carbon alcohol, is a liquid.

Aliphatic compounds

In organic chemistry, compounds composed of carbon and hydrogen are divided into two classes: aromatic compounds, which contain benzene rings or similar rings of atoms, and aliphatic compounds which do not contain aromatic rings.

Aliphatic compounds can be cyclic, like cyclohexane, or acyclic, like hexane. They also can be saturated, like hexane, or unsaturated, like hexene.In aliphatic compounds, carbon atoms can be joined together in straight chains, branched chains, or non-aromatic rings (in which case they are called alicyclic). They can be joined by single bonds (alkanes), double bonds (alkenes), or triple bonds (alkynes). Besides hydrogen, other elements can be bound to the carbon chain, the most common being oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and chlorine.

The simplest aliphatic compound is methane (CH4). Aliphatics include alkanes (e.g. paraffin hydrocarbons), alkenes (e.g. ethylene) and alkynes (e.g. acetylene). Fatty acids consist of an unbranched aliphatic tail attached to a carboxyl group.

Most aliphatic compounds are flammable, allowing the use of hydrocarbons as fuel, such as methane in Bunsen burners and as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), and acetylene in welding.





In organic chemistry, the structures of some rings of atoms are unexpectedly stable. Aromaticity is a chemical property in which a conjugated ring of unsaturated bonds, lone pairs, or empty orbitals exhibit a stabilization stronger than would be expected by the stabilization of conjugation alone. It can also be considered a manifestation of cyclic delocalization and of resonance.

This is usually considered to be because electrons are free to cycle around circular arrangements of atoms which are alternately single- and double-bonded to one another. These bonds may be seen as a hybrid of a single bond and a double bond, each bond in the ring identical to every other. This commonly-seen model of aromatic rings, namely the idea that benzene was formed from a six-membered carbon ring with alternating single and double bonds (cyclohexatriene), was developed by Kekulé. The model for benzene consists of two resonance forms, which corresponds to the double and single bonds superimposing to give rise to six one-and-a-half bonds. Benzene is a more stable molecule than would be expected without accounting for charge delocalization

Heterocyclic compound

Heterocyclic compounds are cyclic compounds with at least two different elements as ring members atoms. They are the counterparts of homocyclic compounds, which have only ring atoms from the same element. Although heterocyclic compounds may be inorganic, most contain at least one carbon atom, and one or more atoms of elements other than carbon within the ring structure, such as sulfur, oxygen or nitrogen. Since in organic chemistry non-carbons usually are considered to replace carbon atoms, they are called heteroatoms (meaning 'different from carbon and hydrogen'). Nevertheless, a ring with only heteroatoms is homocyclic. The IUPAC recommends the Hantzsch-Widman nomenclature for naming heterocyclic compounds. Heterocyclic chemistry is the branch of chemistry dealing with synthesis, properties, and applications of heterocycles.


A polymer is a large molecule (macromolecule) composed of repeating structural units typically connected by covalent chemical bonds. Whereas the term polymer is sometimes taken to refer to plastics, it actually encompasses a large class of natural and synthetic materials with a wide variety of properties.

Because of the extraordinary range of properties of polymeric materials, they play an essential and ubiquitous role in everyday life, ranging from familiar synthetic plastics and elastomers to natural biopolymers such as nucleic acids and proteins that are essential for life. Natural polymeric materials such as shellac, amber, and natural rubber have been used for centuries. A variety of other natural polymers exist, such as cellulose, which is the main constituent of wood and paper. The list of synthetic polymers includes synthetic rubber, Bakelite, neoprene, nylon, PVC, polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyacrylonitrile, PVB, silicone, and many more.


Molecularity in chemistry is the number of colliding molecular entities that are involved in a single reaction step. While the order of a reaction is derived experimentally, the molecularity is a theoretical concept and can only be applied to elementary reactions. In elementary reactions, the reaction order, the molecularity and the stoichiometric coefficient are the same, although only numerically, because they are different concepts.

A reaction involving one molecular entity is called unimolecular.

A reaction involving two molecular entities is called bimolecular.

A reaction involving three molecular entities is called termolecular. Termolecular reactions in solutions or gas mixtures are very rare, because of the improbability of three molecular entities simultaneously colliding . However the term termolecular is also used to refer to three body association reactions of the type:

Where the M over the arrow denotes that to conserve energy and momentum a second reaction with a third body is required. After the initial bimolecular collision of A and B an energetically excited reaction intermediate is formed, then, it collides with a M body, in a second bimolecular reaction, transferring the excess energy to it.

The reaction can be explained as two consecutive reactions:

These reactions frequently have a pressure and temperature dependence region of transition between second and third order kinetics.[

Small molecule

In the fields of pharmacology and biochemistry, a small molecule is a low molecular weight organic compound which is by definition not a polymer. The term small molecule, especially within the field of pharmacology, is usually restricted to a molecule that also binds with high affinity to a biopolymer such as protein, nucleic acid, or polysaccharide and in addition alters the activity or function of the biopolymer. The upper molecular weight limit for a small molecule is approximately 800 Daltons which allows for the possibility to rapidly diffuse across cell membranes so that they can reach intracellular sites of action. In addition, this molecular weight cutoff is a necessary but insufficient condition for oral bioavailability.

Small molecules can have a variety of biological functions, serving as cell signaling molecules, as tools in molecular biology, as drugs in medicine, as pesticides in farming, and in many other roles. These compounds can be natural (such as secondary metabolites) or artificial (such as antiviral drugs); they may have a beneficial effect against a disease (such as drugs) or may be detrimental (such as teratogens and carcinogens).


For the creation of synthetic small molecules for pharmaceutical use.

Most drugs are small molecules, although some drugs can be proteins, e.g. insulin. Many proteins are degraded if administered orally and most often cannot cross the cell membranes. Small molecules are more likely to be absorbed, although some of them are only absorbed after oral administration if given as prodrugs.


A fullerene is any molecule composed entirely of carbon, in the form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid, or tube. Spherical fullerenes are also called buckyballs, and cylindrical ones are called carbon nanotubes or buckytubes. Fullerenes are similar in structure to graphite, which is composed of stacked graphene sheets of linked hexagonal rings; but they may also contain pentagonal (or sometimes heptagonal) rings.( The first fullerene to be discovered, and the family's namesake, buckminsterfullerene (C60), was prepared in 1985 by Richard Smalley, Robert Curl, James Heath, Sean O'Brien, and Harold Kroto at Rice University)

The discovery of fullerenes greatly expanded the number of known carbon allotropes, which until recently were limited to graphite, diamond, and amorphous carbon such as soot and charcoal. Buckyballs and buckytubes have been the subject of intense research, both for their unique chemistry and for their technological applications, especially in materials science, electronics, and nanotechnology.

Organic synthesis is a special branch of chemical synthesis and is concerned with the construction of organic compounds via organic reactions. Organic molecules can often contain a higher level of complexity compared to purely inorganic compounds, so the synthesis of organic compounds has developed into one of the most important branches of organic chemistry. There are two main areas of research fields within the general area of organic synthesis: total synthesis and methodology. A total synthesis is the complete chemical synthesis of complex organic molecules from simple, commercially available (petrochemical) or natural precursors. : Convergent synthesis involves the individual preparation of several "pieces" (key intermediates), which are then combined to form the desired product.

Organic Reactions Organic Reactions is a comprehensive reference work that contains authoritative, critical reviews of many important synthetic reactions. Organic Reactions chapters focus primarily on the preparative aspects of a given transformation. Particular attention is paid to substrate scope, reaction limitations, stereo chemical aspects, effects of chemical structures, and the selection of experimental conditions. Detailed procedures illustrating the significant modifications of the chemical reaction are also included, along with comparisons to other methods to achieve a similar transformation. Every chapter contains a comprehensive compilation all of the published examples of the reaction organized in tables according to the structure of the starting material. Each reaction is presented with information about the reaction conditions, yield, products, and is fully referenced.