Organic compounds are the basis of life on earth. The purpose of this discussion is research the importance of these compounds that make up life on earth. A wide variety of classes of substances, such as drugs, vitamins, plastics, natural and synthetic fibers, as well as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, consist of organic molecules. Organic chemists determine the structures of organic molecules, study their various reactions, and develop procedures for the synthesis of organic compounds. The arrival of organic chemistry is often associated with the discovery in 1828 by the German chemist W hler that the inorganic, or mineral, substance called ammonium cyanate could be converted in the laboratory to urea, an organic substance found in the urine of many animals. Before this discovery, chemists thought that intervention by a so-called life force was necessary for the synthesis of organic substances. W hler’s experiment broke down the barrier between inorganic and organic substances. Modern chemists consider organic compounds to be those containing carbon and one or more other elements, most often hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, or the halogens, but sometimes others as well. The consequences of the unique properties of carbon are manifest in the simplest class of organic compounds the aliphatic, or straight-chain, hydrocarbons.
To begin with, the alkane series, composed of methane, ethane, propane, butane, etc., is made up of colorless, odorless gases which are flammable. Their most common location is in natural gas, firedamp in coal mines, by-products of petroleum refining, and products of decomposition of matter in swamps and marshlands. Their most common use is as a fossil fuel.
Compounds of hydroxyl include methyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol, formaldehyde, and ethanoic acid. Methyl alcohol is made either from the distillation of wood, or the combination of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Methyl alcohol is used as a solvent for fats, oils, resins, and nitrocellulose. It is also a manufacturer of dyes, formaldehyde, antifreeze solutions, special fuels, and plastics. Ethyl alcohol is made by either the fermentation of sugar, starch, or waste sulfite liquor; or the synthesis of ethylene or acetylene. It is used for as a solvent for products such as lacquers, paints, varnishes, and glues. Formaldehyde is either synthesized by heating dry air and methyl alcohol vapor in the presence of a catalyst, such as copper or silver, or from carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Formaldehyde s most important use is in the manufacture of synthetic materials known as resins. Finally, ethanoic acid is synthesized by several synthetic processes, such as the reaction of methyl alcohol and carbon monoxide in the presence of a catalyst, or the combination of oxygen with acetaldehyde. Ethanoic acid is used in the production of acetate rayon, plastics, photographic film, paint solvents, and pharmaceuticals such as aspirin.
Glucose is formed by the hydrolysis of many carbohydrates, including sucrose, maltose, cellulose, starch, and glycogen. It is synthetically formed by the hydrolysis of starch under the influence of enzymes. Glucose is most commonly found in honey and the juices of many fruits.