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Difference Between Organic and Inorganic Compounds

compoundsOrganic vs Inorganic Compounds
The most common differentiation to help distinguish between organic and inorganic compounds used to be the fact that organic compounds result from the activity of living beings, whereas inorganic compounds are either the result of natural processes unrelated to any life form or the result of human experimentation in the laboratory.

But this definition is not strictly true because these days organic compounds can be artificially created by human beings, and moreover organic compounds have been found in outer space where there are no living beings. A more acceptable difference pertains to the salt making property of inorganic compounds which is absent in organic compound. But this definition too is not sacrosanct as both these compounds are sometimes known to buck the trend when it comes to the presence or absence of this property.

Some might hold that organic compounds have carbon while inorganic do not. This too is not strictly one hundred per cent correct. A more tenable explanation is that organic compounds have carbon-hydrogen bonds, while inorganic do not. This is largely true and therefore is a real distinguishing characteristic.

Yet another difference is the fact that inorganic compounds contain metal atoms, whereas organic compounds do not. This too is not one hundred percent true. Maybe one could just take the word of organic and inorganic chemist on what constitutes an organic or inorganic compound. Organic compounds are biological and inorganic are mineral in nature.

Another way of bringing out the difference is to point out that organic compounds are part of a class of chemical compounds, the molecules of which contain carbon and hydrogen. By this logic carbide, carbonates, carbon oxides, and elementary carbon do not qualify to be organic compounds. Inorganic compound come mainly from mineral sources of non biological origin. The modern view of inorganic compounds believes that inorganic compounds mostly comprise of metal containing compounds even if they happen to exist in living organisms.

Thus we see that what constitutes organic or inorganic compounds has changed over a period of time, and there happen to be no water tight compartments which will differentiate the two. However one can always differentiate between organic compounds and inorganic compounds.

Summary:
1. Organic compounds are the result of activities of living beings while inorganic compounds are created either due to natural processes unrelated to any life form or the result of human experimentation in the laboratory.
2. Inorganic compounds can make salt, while organic cannot.
3. Organic compounds contain carbon, while inorganic do not.
4. Organic compounds have carbon-hydrogen bonds, while inorganic do not.
5. Inorganic compounds contain metal atoms, whereas organic compounds do not.
6. Organic compounds are biological and inorganic are mineral in nature.
7. Organic compounds are part of a class of chemical compounds the molecules of which contain carbon and hydrogen, while inorganic compounds mostly comprise of metal containing compounds even if they happen to exist in living organisms.


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21 Comments

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