Citric acid is a major flavour component of citrus fruits, such as lemons, grapefruits, and oranges. When present as a substituent on another structural unit, the SH group is commonly termed mercapto, as in 2-mercaptoethanol. The carbon atom of a carbonyl group is bonded to two other atoms in addition to the oxygen atom. The hydroxyl group of alcohols and phenols is responsible for an interesting variety of physical and chemical properties. An organic molecule in which an oxygen atom is bonded to two carbon atoms through two sigma bonds is known as an ether. Each type of acid derivative has a set of characteristic reactions that qualifies it as a unique functional group, but all acid derivatives can be readily converted to a carboxylic acid under appropriate reaction conditions. Acyl chlorides and anhydrides are the most reactive carboxylic acid derivatives and are useful chemical reagents, although they are not important functional groups in natural substances. Because of its π bond, the carbonyl group undergoes addition reactions similar to those that occur with alkenes but with a few important differences. Compounds like alcohols and phenol which contain an -OH group attached to a hydrocarbon are very weak acids. Chloroethene (vinyl chloride) is the monomeric building block for polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and the mixed organohalide halothane is an inhalation anesthetic. When both substituents are unreactive alkane fragments, as in ketones, there are few reactions other than carbonyl additions. In polyfunctional organic compounds, the functional groups often interact with one another to impart unique reactivity patterns to the compounds. Alcohols are so weakly acidic that, for normal lab purposes, their acidity can be virtually ignored. The simplest example is oxirane (ethylene oxide). Although ethers contain two polar carbon-oxygen bonds, they are much less reactive than alcohols or phenols. The slightly positive charge that exists on the carbon atom in carbon-halogen bonds is the source of reactivity of halides. The structural unit containing an alkyl group bonded to a carbonyl group is known as an acyl group. The conjunction of a carbonyl and a hydroxyl group forms a functional group known as a carboxyl group. Species that add to a carbonyl group to form new σ bonds react in such a way that electrophilic (electron-seeking) groups attack the oxygen atom and nucleophilic groups (those seeking positively charged centres) attack the carbon atom. It can be detected by the human nose at a concentration of a few parts per billion and is readily identifiable as having a rotten-egg odour. If the substituents (other than hydrogen atoms) are alkyl groups, the resulting compounds are termed alkyl amines. Whereas carbon-carbon double bonds are nonpolar, carbon-oxygen double bonds are polar. Epoxides are cyclic ethers that contain a three-membered ring. When a hydroxyl group is joined to an alkane framework, an alcohol such as ethanol, is produced. An aromatic ether known as Nerolin II (2-ethoxynaphthalene) is used in perfumes to impart the scent of orange blossoms. The resulting compound, called a quaternary ammonium salt, has a positive charge on the nitrogen atom and a tetrahedral arrangement of groups around the nitrogen atom. Methyl butanoate, for example, is present in pineapples. When one of the substituents is not an alkane fragment, different possibilities emerge. The discussion begins with an outline of the nomenclature of alcohols and phenols. When an oxygen atom forms a double bond to a carbon atom, a carbonyl functional group is obtained. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. A 40 percent solution of formaldehyde in water is formalin, a liquid used for preserving biological specimens. Vinegar is a 5 percent solution of acetic acid in water, and its sharp acidic taste is due to the carboxylic acid present. The biochemical action of vitamin E, for example, depends largely on the reactivity of the phenol functional group.


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