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Inorganic compounds make up 1%–1.5% of a living cell’s mass. They are small, simple compounds that play important roles in the cell, although they do not form cell structures. Most of the carbon found in organic molecules originates from inorganic carbon sources such as carbon dioxide captured via carbon fixation by microorganisms.

  • Describe the most abundant elements in nature.
  • Describe the most abundant elements in natureWhat are the differences between organic and inorganic molecules?

Organic molecules and isomerism

Organic molecules in organisms are generally larger and more complex than inorganic molecules. Their carbon skeletons are held together by covalent bonds. They form the cells of an organism and perform the chemical reactions that facilitate life. All of these molecules, called biomolecule s because they are part of living matter, contain carbon, which is the building block of life. Carbon is a very unique element in that it has four valence electrons in its outer orbitals and can form four single covalent bonds with up to four other atoms at the same time (see Appendix A ). These atoms are usually oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorous, and carbon itself; the simplest organic compound is methane, in which carbon binds only to hydrogen ( [link] ).

As a result of carbon’s unique combination of size and bonding properties, carbon atoms can bind together in large numbers, thus producing a chain or carbon skeleton . The carbon skeleton of organic molecules can be straight, branched, or ring shaped (cyclic). Organic molecules are built on chains of carbon atoms of varying lengths; most are typically very long, which allows for a huge number and variety of compounds. No other element has the ability to form so many different molecules of so many different sizes and shapes.

Methane is drawn with a C in the center. Four lines project from the C in 4 different directions, there is an H at the end of each line.
A carbon atom can bond with up to four other atoms. The simplest organic molecule is methane (CH 4 ), depicted here.

Molecules with the same atomic makeup but different structural arrangement of atoms are called isomers . The concept of isomerism is very important in chemistry because the structure of a molecule is always directly related to its function. Slight changes in the structural arrangements of atoms in a molecule may lead to very different properties. Chemists represent molecules by their structural formula , which is a graphic representation of the molecular structure, showing how the atoms are arranged. Compounds that have identical molecular formulas but differ in the bonding sequence of the atoms are called structural isomers . The monosaccharides glucose , galactose , and fructose all have the same molecular formula, C 6 H 12 O 6 , but we can see from [link] that the atoms are bonded together differently.

The chemical formula for galactose is 6 Cs in a chain. The top C has a double bonded O, the next C has an OH on the right, the next 2 Cs have OHs on the left, and the last 2 Cs have OHs on the right. The chemical formula for fructose also has 6 Cs in a chain. The top C has an OH on the right. The next C has a double bonded O to the right. The next C has an OH to the left. The last 3 Cs have OHs to the right. All other bonds on both of these molecules are to Hs.
Glucose, galactose, and fructose have the same chemical formula (C 6 H 12 O 6 ), but these structural isomers differ in their physical and chemical properties.

Isomers that differ in the spatial arrangements of atoms are called stereoisomers ; one unique type is enantiomers . The properties of enantiomers were originally discovered by Louis Pasteur in 1848 while using a microscope to analyze crystallized fermentation products of wine. Enantiomers are molecules that have the characteristic of chirality , in which their structures are nonsuperimposable mirror images of each other. Chirality is an important characteristic in many biologically important molecules, as illustrated by the examples of structural differences in the enantiomeric forms of the monosaccharide glucose or the amino acid alanine ( [link] ).

Questions & Answers

what is pathogenic
kelvin Reply
biological pathogen is anything that can produce disease. a pathogen may also be referred to as an infectious agent, or simple a germ.
Dejene
Thanks
kelvin
explain 3 points why gender is relevant to health.
kelvin
wat causes sor throat
Ezeama Reply
Streptococcus
Rajat
Streptococcus
Panda
Gram positive
shamim
streptococcus pyrogenes
Sherma
group A streptococcus pyogenes. But not the only one.
Carlos
does the bac of s.aures gives choronic diseas in bone?
Elyas
causes virus bac group A strep allergies smoking
Elyas
truth also virus
Shania
what z microbiology
Mwelwa Reply
microbiology is all about the scientific study of microorganisms, their life changes, their life span, structural punctuality and their phenomenon.
Ridwan
thanks
micah
Best scope in microbiology
Rahul
wat abut skin
Elyas
whatis scope
Amare
what is scope
Funmi
what happened when someone died and what happened to the blood
Franca Reply
nice question
Attari
when you die you have no memory and the blood dry off
Falere
what microorganisms is all about?
Ridwan
And how many does the microorganisms is classified?
Ridwan
How are microbs organized
Saskia
what is endoparasites and exo parasite and their example
OGEDE Reply
Endo : inside the body Exo/ecto : outside or on the body
Paul
examples please
OGEDE
Louse for exo/ecto Helminths (worms) for endo
Paul
what's prokaryotic
mohaiminul Reply
A prokaryotic cell is a cell with no membrane bounds organelles
Paul
what are the main effect of parasite?
yunusa Reply
nutritional group of micro organism
Mana Reply
what are the charateristic bacteria, eukaryotes, and viruses have in commom
Ami Reply
what type of bacteria ismor serious
Amare
D N A ar purno rup ki
Ruba Reply
বাংলায় দেখবো DNA এর পূর্রন্যরুপ কি
Ruba
what's microbiology
micah
micro biology is the study of micro organisms,those being unicellular multicellular or a cellular
aniisha
deoxyribonucleic acid is a long molecule that contains our unique genetic code.
aniisha
Does the parasite/parasitology are under microbiology or not
yunusa
Define bacteria
Kainat
Bacteria are a type of biological cell & they constitute a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms.
raisa
what kind of microbiology
Mira
hello what is main function of T and B cells
Ishaq Reply
T cells are involved in cell-mediated immunity while B cells are primarily responsible for humoral immunity (relating to antibodies)
Janet
what is hepatitis B
Sunday
it's viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic diseases. the virus is most commonly transmitted from mother to child during birth and delivery, as well as through contact with blood or other body fluids...
Dejene
What are fundamental experiment of microbiology?
Lucky Reply
study of microscopic organisms, unicellular and multicellular
Falere
what are the characteristics of bacteria, viruses, and eukaryotes
Ami
bacteria-are living organism. contain a peptidoglycan/lipopolysaccharide cell wall. VIRUS-are considered as organic structure which interact with living organism don't have acell wall. they have many differents like bacteria size -large(1000nm) virus size-smaller(20-400nm). bacteria ribosomes presen
Dejene
virus ribosomes absence. bacteria living organism. virus b/n living and non-living things
Dejene
eukaryotic cell has a true membrane bond nucleus and has other membranous organelles that allow for compartmenalization of function
Dejene
This answer is wrong
Jeffrey Reply
who discovered the growth curve
Joy Reply
Example of coccus bacteria
Nweke Reply
staphylococcus aureus
Elton
MRSA any bew information
Satish
pl. read any new information about MRSA
Satish
Any stru tural finding about novel corona virus
Satish

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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