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Sources of Organic Compounds

December 17, 2012

An organic compound is member of a large class of chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. A few types of carbon-containing compounds like carbonates, simple oxides of carbon and cyanides, and also the allotropes of carbon like diamond and graphite, are considered as inorganic.

Organic chemistry is the science which is concerned with all aspects of organic compounds.
Organic Compounds: Petroleum as Source

The main sources of organic compounds are Petroleum, Coal and Natural Gas.


Petroleum is a mixture of a large number of different hydrocarbons; the mostly found molecules are alkanes, cycloalkanes, aromatic hydrocarbons, or complicated chemicals like asphaltenes. Each petroleum variety has a unique mixture of molecules, which defines its physical and chemical properties, such as color and viscosity.

Incomplete combustion of petroleum causes production of toxic by-products. Very little oxygen results in carbon monoxide. Due to the high temperatures and high pressures involved, exhaust gases from gasoline combustion in car engines normally include nitrogen oxides which are responsible for creation of photochemical smog.
Organic Compounds: Coal and Natural Gas


Coal is a readily combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock occurring in rock strata in layers termed as coal beds. The harder forms like anthracite coal can be regarded as metamorphic rock. Coal is composed mainly of carbon along with different quantities of other elements, mainly sulfur, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.

Coal is a fossil fuel and the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity worldwide, and also one of the largest worldwide anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Gross carbon dioxide emissions from coal usage are little more than those from petroleum and about double from natural gas. Coal is extracted from the ground by mining.

Natural gas:

Natural gas is a gas consisting mainly of methane. It is found associated with other fossil fuels in coal bedsand is created by methanogenic organisms in marshes, bogs, and landfills. It is a useful fuel source, a major feedstock for fertilizers, and a greenhouse gas.

Natural gas is informally termed as simply gas, mainly when compared to other sources of energy such as oil or coal.


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