Organic and inorganic compounds are substances that differ from each other in terms of their structure, properties, and chemical reactions. An organic compound contains carbon atoms while an inorganic compound usually does not have carbon atoms. They have their own unique characteristics that make them useful in particular conditions.

Organic compounds occur naturally. They are found in all living things. In addition to carbon, organic compounds often contain hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. e.g. DNA, methane, and benzene, etc. However, inorganic compounds are synthetic. They can be synthesized from organic compounds. e.g. table salt, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, etc.

organic vs inorganic compounds

Organic and inorganic compounds are made up of different elements. So they have different physical properties such as melting and boiling points.

There are key differences between organic and inorganic compounds that are listed below

Organic Compound Inorganic Compound
Organic compounds are composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen primarily Inorganic compounds are composed of atoms usually other than carbon
The nature of organic compounds is covalent due to C-H bonding The nature of inorganic compounds can be electrovalent, ionic, or covalent
Melting and boiling points of organic compounds are low Melting and boiling points of inorganic compounds are higher
Their solubility in water is low Their solubility in water is high
They are bad conductors of heat and electricity Inorganic compounds are usually good conductors
Some organic compounds are volatile in nature There are almost no inorganic volatile compounds
They have catenation property due to C Only some inorganic compounds have catenation properties
Most of these compounds are colorless Inorganic compounds generally have colors
Their rate of reactions is generally slow Their rate of reaction is fast
These compounds are mostly found in living things These compounds are mostly found in non-living things
Most organic compounds are biodegradable Inorganic compounds are generally environment un-friendly
Examples of organic compounds are; enzymes, protein, DNA, RNA, and fuels, etc Examples of inorganic compounds are; metals, non-metals, salts, etc

Organic Compounds

Organic compounds are carbon-based chemicals that occur naturally. They contain elements like hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, chlorine, and sulfur. All living things are made up of organic compounds. The properties of the organic compounds make them great for industrial applications. Many of them are used to produce adhesives and pesticides. They are often used in food and medicines. They contain at least one carbon atom bonded to hydrogen as their identification.

Everything from plants to animals is made of organic compounds. Their properties vary based on what elements are involved. For example, if a molecule contains oxygen atoms, it is considered an oxygenated compound (like carbon dioxide). All living things on Earth depend on organic compounds but they aren’t always chemically pure.

Characteristics of Organic Compounds

Organic compounds are usually polymers which means they’re made up of long chains of smaller building blocks. These blocks, called monomers, are simple molecules that link together with covalent bonds to form larger carbon-based molecules. Organic compounds can also contain non-carbon elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen in their structures.

An organic compound composed of just carbon and hydrogen is called alkane. Organic compounds also typically contain at least one carbon to oxygen bond. Since most organic compounds are so large and complex, chemists use their structural formulas instead of molecular ones when writing organic compounds.

Organic compounds are more stable than inorganic compounds. Their molecular shapes are more complex. They can undergo biochemical reactions. Some of these reaction involves oxidation and reduction as well.

Organometallic chemistry is an important field of organic chemistry. This focuses on organometallic compounds that contain carbon bonded with transition metals.

Examples of organic compounds

  • Fats
  • Proteins
  • Nucleic acids
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Fossil fuels
  • Adhesives
  • Sugars
  • Cellulose, etc

Inorganic Compounds

Inorganic compounds are known as elemental compounds. They can be found as pure elements. They do not change when reacting with other chemicals. This means they cannot be used to produce energy or sustain life. Some minerals such as silicon, iron ores, aluminum ores, and uranium ores are examples of inorganic compounds that make up the earth’s crust.

Metals such as calcium, sodium, carbon, and gold are common examples of inorganic compounds. They have a defined formula and consistent structure. For example, sodium chloride is a crystal. it has an elemental composition of 40 percent chlorine and 60 percent sodium. Many inorganic compounds are also ionic compounds that contain cations (positively charged ions) or anions (negatively charged ions). These positive or negative particles balance within their solid-state to produce neutral units.

Characteristics of Inorganic Compounds

Inorganic compounds do not contain carbon. Instead, they are composed of atoms that belong to more than one element, such as oxygen or nitrogen. In fact, many inorganic compounds are composed of metals in various forms, such as iron or aluminum oxide. As a result, most can be classified as salts.

They usually consist of elements and compounds that contain only hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. However, synthesized inorganic compounds can be found in living organisms. For example, chlorine is commonly used to purify water for human consumption. Other inorganic compounds include cyanide, cyanates, oxides, sulfides, borates, and phosphates.

Examples of inorganic compounds

Key Difference(s) between Organic vs Inorganic Compounds

Key differences between organic and inorganic compounds

Concepts Berg

What is organic and inorganic arsenic?

Organic arsenic has a carbon atom while inorganic arsenic doesn’t have a carbon atom bonded to it. It is important to note that there are many different forms of arsenic i.e. arsenic trioxide, or AsO3, is an inorganic form of arsenic. It is also known as arsine gas and was used for chemical warfare during World War-I. Arsenite and arsenate are two other common inorganic compounds of arsenic. Organic arsenic compounds like methylated arsines (MA) or dimethyl arsinic acid (DMAA) are also harmful if consumed in high amounts over long periods of time.

Is table salt an inorganic compound?

Table salt is a compound composed of chlorine and sodium. Like other compounds, salt has properties that are different from either chlorine or sodium taken individually. So one can say that salt is an inorganic compound.

What is inorganic chemistry?

Inorganic chemistry deals with molecules that are not made up of any carbon-hydrogen bonds. For example, Sodium chloride, etc.

How to know if a compound is organic or inorganic?

Organic compounds (i.e. organic chemicals) are carbon-based compounds and are usually derived from living things (such as plants or animals). Inorganic compounds, on the other hand, are compounds that do not contain carbon atoms and can be found in minerals, rocks, and water. The easiest way to tell if a compound is organic or inorganic is by looking at its chemical formula. If it contains C or H atoms, it is likely to be an organic compound.

What are more dangerous organic or inorganic compounds?

Inorganic compounds are just as dangerous as organic compounds if they are mixed with combustible materials like paper, wood, etc. Similarly, certain organic compounds can be just as dangerous if mixed with other combustible materials. While there isn’t a definitive answer for what can be considered more dangerous between organic and inorganic compounds, one must handle both types of chemicals with care. It all depends on what each compound consists of and how it is being used.

What are the elements for organic and inorganic compounds?

Organic compounds are primarily made up of carbon and hydrogen while inorganic compounds are made up of nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, oxygen, etc.

Are vitamins organic or inorganic?

Vitamins are organic compounds. Organic compounds contain carbon and hydrogen, often also include oxygen, nitrogen, or sulfur. These compounds may be synthesized by living organisms or they may be found in nature.

What are organic vs inorganic polymers?

Two main types of polymers are organic and inorganic polymers. The differences between organic and inorganic polymers rely on how each polymer was produced. The chemical makeup of each type of polymer varies depending on its origin, which affects its properties. For example, the organic polymer may be more flexible or softer than the inorganic polymer. Another significant difference between organic and inorganic polymers is their melting points. Inorganic polymers have higher melting points than organic ones because they have stronger bonds between individual molecules or monomers.

Is fructose an inorganic compound?

Fructose is a simple carbohydrate i.e. organic compound. It is found commonly in fruits and vegetables, Fructose, as well as other simple sugars like glucose (also known as dextrose), exist naturally in plants and animals. These types of carbohydrates are produced by plants through photosynthesis. This process allows them to store energy for when they aren’t exposed to sunlight while animals obtained food by using these plants.

Is there an inorganic compound that contains carbon?

Yes, there are many such compounds. For example, silicon carbide (SiC), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), etc.

Is iron classified as inorganic or organic?

Iron is classified as an element, meaning it is not considered organic or inorganic. Elements are composed of single type of atom. There are also minerals, which contain more than one element but aren’t considered either organic or inorganic because they contain at least two different elements.

Is a diamond an inorganic compound?

A diamond is an example of an inorganic compound. Diamonds are generally quite hard. They’re not considered soft or malleable. Because diamonds are composed of strong, tightly-bonded atoms within a crystalline structure, they do not tend to dissolve easily in water.

Why is CCl4 an organic compound?

CCl4 (carbon tetrachloride) is an example of an organic compound because it is the final member of the series of carbon chlorides. For example, CH3Cl, CH2Cl2, CHCl3, and CCl4.


  • Taste Chemistry By R.S. Shallenberger (Cornell University)
  • Uses of Inorganic Chemistry in Medicine edited by Nicholas Farrell (Virginia Commonwealth University)