Chemistry 230 Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry

Introduction to Functional Groups

Organic chemistry is made up of a myriad or molecules (over 6 million at last count). Each molecule has slightly different properties, which are determined by the features and architectures of the molecules themselves.

One of the most important features of an organic molecule it the functional group.

The functional groups are set templates that we use to organize our analysis of organic molecules. The books is divided in chapters based on the functional groups. We will just get introduced to the functional groups now and go into more detail later.

Discovery of medicinal chemicals are not entirely a hit or miss operation. For example, let's look at the history of aspirin. Aspirin, or acetyl salicylic acid, was first derived from salicylic acid that is present in the bark of the willow tree. Salicylic acid is pretty nasty stuff and will alleviate pain, but also eat away at the stomach lining. Nobody eats salicylic acid but it is used for dermatological preparations like wart removal.

Recent research has reavealed how aspirin works. It has to do inhibiting an enzyme that is responsible for producing prostaglandins -- important messenger molecules for the processes involved in inflammation.

This is chemical picture of salicylic acid. Click the mouse on the three functional groups with the mouse and try to get their names.

Review functional Groups

Salicylic Acid

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