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Main article: Inorganic chemistry

An inorganic compound is a compound that is not considered "organic". Inorganic compounds are traditionally viewed as being synthesized by the agency of geological systems. In contrast, organic compounds are found in biological systems. Organic chemists traditionally refer to any molecule containing carbon as an organic compound and by default this means that inorganic chemistry deals with molecules lacking carbon.[1] The 19th century chemist, Berzelius, described inorganic compounds as inanimate, not biological, origin,[2] although many minerals are of biological origin. Biologists may distinguish organic from inorganic compounds in a different way that does not hinge on the presence of a carbon atom. Pools of organic matter, for example, that have been metabolically incorporated into living tissues persist in decomposing tissues, but as molecules become oxidized into the open environment, such as atmospheric CO2, this creates a separate pool of inorganic compounds. The distinction between inorganic and organic compounds is not always clear. Some scientists, for example, view the open environment (i.e., the ecosphere) as an extension of life and from this perspective may consider atmospheric CO2 as an organic compound. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, an agency widely recognized for defining chemical terms, does not offer definitions of inorganic or organic. Hence, the definition for an inorganic versus an organic compound in a multidisciplinary context spans the division between living (or animate) and non-living (or inanimate) matter and remains open to debate according to the way that one views the world.[3]

The Periodic Table of the Elements, illustrating the wide variety of elements outside of carbon that can combine to form inorganic compounds by the chemistry definition.

Modern usage[edit]

Inorganic compounds can be formally defined with reference to what they are not: organic compounds. Organic compounds contain carbon bonds in which at least one carbon atom is covalently linked to an atom of another type (commonly hydrogen, oxygen, or nitrogen). Some carbon-containing compounds are traditionally considered inorganic.[3] When considering inorganic chemistry and life, it is useful to recall that many species in nature are not compounds per se but are ions (e.g., proteins, DNA, and RNA). Sodium, chloride, and phosphate ions are essential for life, as are some inorganic molecules such as carbonic acid, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, water, and oxygen. Aside from these simple ions and molecules, virtually all compounds covered by bioinorganic chemistry contain carbon and can be considered organic or organometallic.

Inorganic carbon compounds[edit]

Many compounds that contain carbon are considered inorganic, for example, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonates, cyanides, cyanates, carbides, and thiocyanates. The Inorganic Crystal Structure Database (ICSD),[4] in its definition of "inorganic" carbon compounds, states that such compounds should contain either C-H or C-C bonds, but not both.[5]

Coordination chemistry[edit]

A large class of compounds discussed in inorganic chemistry textbooks are coordination compounds. Examples range from substances that are strictly inorganic, such as [Co(NH3)6]Cl3, to organometallic compounds, such as Fe(C5H5)2, and extending to bioinorganic compounds, such as the hydrogenase enzymes.

Mineralogy[edit]

Minerals are mainly oxides and sulfides, which are strictly inorganic, although they may be of biological origin. In fact, most of the earth is inorganic. Although the components of Earth's crust are well-elucidated, the processes of mineralization and the composition of the deep mantle remain active areas of investigation, which are covered mainly in geology-oriented venues.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Major textbooks on inorganic chemistry, however, decline to define inorganic compounds: Holleman, A. F.; Wiberg, E. "Inorganic Chemistry" Academic Press: San Francisco, 2001. ISBN 0-12-352651-5; Greenwood, Norman N.; Earnshaw, Alan (1997). Chemistry of the Elements (2nd ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 0080379419. , Cotton, F. Albert; Wilkinson, Geoffrey (1988), Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (5th ed.), New York: Wiley-Interscience, ISBN 0-471-84997-9 
  2. ^ J. J. Berzelius "Lehrbuch der Chemie," 1st ed., Arnoldischen Buchhandlung, Dresden and Leipzig, 1827. ISBN 1-148-99953-1. Brief English commentary in English can be found in Bent Soren Jorgensen "More on Berzelius and the vital force" J. Chem. Educ., 1965, vol. 42, p 394. doi:10.1021/ed042p394
  3. ^ a b http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/431954/organic-compound
  4. ^ http://icsd.fiz-karlsruhe.de/. Retrieved 28 March 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ http://www.fiz-karlsruhe.de/fileadmin/be_user/ICSD/PDF/sci_man_ICSD_v1.pdf. Retrieved 28 March 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Newman, D. K.; Banfield, J. F. (2002). "Geomicrobiology: How Molecular-Scale Interactions Underpin Biogeochemical Systems". Science 296 (5570): 1071–1077. doi:10.1126/science.1010716. PMID 12004119. 

External links[edit]

  • Dan Berger, Bluffton College, analysis of varying inappropriate definitions of the inorganic-organic distinction: Otherwise consistent linked material differing from current article in downplaying the carbon present vs carbon absent distinctive: [1]

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7 news items

 
Norfolk Daily News
Sat, 30 Aug 2014 06:18:45 -0700

Copper sulfate is an inorganic compound that can be used as a pesticide to kill bacteria, algae, roots, plants, snails and fungi. Improper use of copper sulfate can be toxic to fish and aquatic animals, and failure to take proper precautions may result ...
 
CNNMoney
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 01:15:00 -0700

The Company produces and distributes humic acid-based compound fertilizers, blended fertilizers, organic compound fertilizers, mixed organic-inorganic compound fertilizers, slow-release fertilizers, highly concentrated water soluble fertilizers and ...

PBS NewsHour

PBS NewsHour
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 15:55:34 -0700

The key to converting sound into electricity, QMUL and Nokia found, is a particular application of zinc oxide — a water soluble, inorganic compound commonly used in plastics, ceramics and glass. Fibers coated in zinc oxide are particularly ...

My Champlain Valley FOX44 & ABC22

WPTZ The Champlain Valley
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 08:54:48 -0700

Maj. Chris Gookin said hydrazine spilled at 9:35 a.m. Friday at the 158th Fighter Wing base. Hydrazine is an inorganic compound. It is colorless, and flammable, with an ammonia-like odor. Gookin said the hangar has been secured and there is no danger ...
 
CLTV
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 19:26:15 -0700

Residents want it to be treated with copper sulfate, an inorganic compound that kills bacteria and the snails that transmit Swimmer's Itch. But Park District board members fear it will kill plants in the lake too. The Illinois Dept of Public Health isn ...
 
Daijiworld.com
Sat, 02 Aug 2014 20:18:29 -0700

Bangalore, Aug 3 (DHNS): Two 15-year-olds have not only assured themselves a berth among finalists of the annual Global Google Science Fair, but also have done the State proud by their prodigious scientific talents. The twosome of Vineeth Nayak and ...
 
The Wall Street Transcript
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 03:52:19 -0700

Gufeng, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Beijing Tianjuyuan Fertilizer Co., Ltd., are Beijing-based producers of compound fertilizers, blended fertilizers, organic compound fertilizers, and mixed organic-inorganic compound fertilizers. As of June 30 ...
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