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Organic vs. Inorganic Compounds. Another way of classifying chemical compounds… . Organic Compounds. In science, organic compounds contain carbon ( C ), and usually hydrogen ( H ) Sometimes other types of atoms are also attached, including: oxygen , halogens , and nitrogen.

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organic vs inorganic compounds

Organic vs. Inorganic Compounds

Another way of classifying chemical compounds…

organic compounds
Organic Compounds

In science, organic compounds contain carbon (C), and usually hydrogen (H)

Sometimes other types of atoms are also attached, including: oxygen, halogens, and nitrogen

is that why foods are called organic
Is that why foods are called“organic”?
  • Organic actually derives from “coming from life”, because the compounds that plants and animals make are all C-compounds
  • This is not the meaning of organic foods though!
      • In this case organic refer to being produced without chemicals (ironically many of these chemicals are actually ORGANIC compounds!)
inorganic compounds
Inorganic Compounds

Inorganic compounds do not contain carbon with three exceptions:

Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide

Compounds containing cyanide (CN-) and carbonate (CO3-) ions

Acids containing C—these can be identified because H is written before the C!

why are organic compounds so special
Why are organic compounds so special?
  • Carbon has four electrons in its valence shell, which allows for more chemical bonding possibilities than any other element.
    • Long chains of carbons

form petroleum and plastics

    • Some cyclic (“circular”) rings of carbons form pesticides

The acetaminophen molecule:

the active ingredient in Tylenol

  • A hydrocarbon is an organic compound that contains only carbon and hydrogen.
    • Hydrocarbons are based on a carbon “backbone”, or chain, with hydrogen atoms added on the sides
you know about hydrocarbons already
You know about hydrocarbons already!
  • The simplest hydrocarbons are ones that you might recognize and have even used!
    • Methane (CH4)--- main component of natural gas
    • Ethane (C2H6)--- also found in natural gas
    • Propane (C3H8) --- used as a fuel for BBQs
    • Butane (C4H10) --- an extremely flammable fluid used in industrial torches
    • Octane (C8H18)---a combustible liquid in gasoline
  • All hydrocarbons are flammable, and most are liquids are room temperature
alcohols are hydrocarbons too
Alcohols are hydrocarbons too…
  • Alcohols are organic compounds with C, H and O.
    • The simplest alcohols are:
      • Methanol (CH4O)--- used in labs as a solvent but causes blindness!
      • Ethanol (C2H6O)---is a psychoactive drug (present in alcohol), but is now being considered as a fuel source
      • Isopropyl alcohol (C3H8O)---rubbing alcohol used to sterile cuts
    • Alcohols are generally very flammable
organic or not


ORGANIC---DNA is has a sugar backbone, which consists of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen

organic or not1

Vegetable Oil

ORGANIC--- oils and fats are long-chain carbon compounds, which are used by living things as a way of storing energy

organic or not2

Sulphuric Acid

NOT! Sulphuric acid (H2SO4) is the strong acid found in car batteries, but doesn’t contain carbon and isn’t organic

organic or not3

Corn starch

ORGANIC! Starch is produced by plants as a way of storing sugars that they don’t need right away

organic or not4

Copper (II) Sulphate

NOT! Copper (II) sulphate is a beautiful blue crystal, but does not contain carbon and is definitely not organic!

three different representations
Three different representations:
  • Structural formula- lists the elements and their proportions in the order they are bonded



Acetic Acid (Vinegar)


three different representations1
Three different representations:
  • Ball-and-stick model- each element is given a different colour and/or size and the picture shows how many and how the elements are bonded

Each black ball represent C… Each white ball represents H…

The red ball represents O…

This is Ethanol! (alcohol group -0H)

three different representations2
Three different representations:
  • Space-filling model- similar to a ball-and-stick model, but an animated model that shows how elements are connected

Methylisocyanate- a valuable synthetic component for biology CH3N=C=S

Heme- the iron-containing component of hemoglobin, C34H32FeN4O4