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Organic vs. Inorganic: Know the Difference

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By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Organic compounds contain carbon and are typically found in living organisms, whereas inorganic compounds do not contain carbon-hydrogen bonds and are often minerals or metals.
Organic vs. Inorganic

Key Differences

Organic chemistry focuses on compounds that contain carbon, especially those involved in the chemistry of life. Inorganic chemistry deals with compounds that do not contain carbon-hydrogen bonds, often including metals, minerals, and gases.
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Organic compounds are often associated with living organisms and their biological processes. Inorganic compounds are typically found in the Earth's crust, oceans, and atmosphere, and are not associated with living organisms.
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Organic compounds are known for their complexity, often forming large and intricate molecules like proteins and DNA. Inorganic compounds, while diverse, are usually simpler in structure compared to organic molecules.
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Organic chemistry is essential in processes like photosynthesis, respiration, and the formation of fossil fuels. Inorganic chemistry plays a crucial role in geological formations, industrial processes, and catalysis.
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Organic compounds are used in pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and plastics, reflecting their biological origin. Inorganic compounds find applications in materials science, electronics, and catalysis, often in non-biological contexts.
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Comparison Chart

Composition

Contain carbon-hydrogen bonds
Do not contain carbon-hydrogen bonds
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Source

Derived from living organisms
Often derived from non-living sources
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Complexity

Typically complex molecules
Generally simpler structures
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Role in Nature

Crucial for life processes
Important in geological and industrial processes
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Applications

Pharmaceuticals, plastics, agriculture
Electronics, materials, catalysis
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Organic and Inorganic Definitions

Organic

In chemistry, organic pertains to carbon-based molecules, especially those found in living systems.
The study of organic molecules is crucial in understanding biological processes.
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Inorganic

Inorganic refers to chemical compounds that generally do not contain carbon-hydrogen bonds.
Inorganic salts are essential in various industrial processes.
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Organic

Organic in food labeling indicates adherence to specific cultivation and processing standards.
Organic milk comes from cows not treated with hormones or antibiotics.
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Inorganic

Inorganic materials often include metals, minerals, and synthetic compounds.
The bridge was constructed using various inorganic materials for durability.
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Organic

Of, relating to, or derived from living organisms
Organic matter.
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Inorganic

Inorganic fertilizers are made from synthetic or mined substances, not from organic matter.
Inorganic fertilizers provide quick nutrients to plants but can impact soil health.
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Organic

Of, relating to, or affecting a bodily organ
An organic disease.
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Inorganic

Inorganic chemistry focuses on substances not derived from living organisms.
Inorganic compounds, like metals and minerals, are abundant in nature.
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Organic

Of, marked by, or involving the use of fertilizers or pesticides that are strictly of animal or vegetable origin
Organic vegetables.
An organic farm.
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Inorganic

Inorganic growth in business refers to expansion through acquisitions or mergers.
The company's inorganic growth strategy involved acquiring several smaller firms.
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Organic

Raised or conducted without the use of drugs, hormones, or synthetic chemicals
Organic chicken.
Organic cattle farming.
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Inorganic

Involving neither organic life nor the products of organic life.
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Organic

Serving organic food
An organic restaurant.
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Inorganic

Not composed of organic matter.
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Organic

Simple, healthful, and close to nature
An organic lifestyle.
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Inorganic

(Chemistry) Of or relating to compounds not containing hydrocarbon groups or derivatives.
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Organic

Having properties associated with living organisms.
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Inorganic

Not arising in normal growth; artificial.
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Organic

Resembling a living organism in organization or development; interconnected
Society as an organic whole.
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Inorganic

Lacking system or structure.
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Organic

Constituting an integral part of a whole; fundamental.
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Inorganic

(chemistry) relating to a compound that does not contain carbon
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Organic

(Law) Denoting or relating to the fundamental or constitutional laws and precepts of a government or an organization.
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Inorganic

That does not originate in a living organism
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Organic

(Chemistry) Of or designating carbon compounds.
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Inorganic

(chemistry) An inorganic compound
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Organic

An organic food or a product made from organic materials.
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Inorganic

Not organic; without the organs necessary for life; devoid of an organized structure; unorganized; lifeness; inanimate.
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Organic

A substance, especially a fertilizer or pesticide, of animal or vegetable origin.
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Inorganic

Of or pertaining to compounds that are not derivatives of hydrocarbons; not organic{5}.
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Organic

(Chemistry) An organic compound.
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Inorganic

Relating or belonging to the class of compounds not having a carbon basis;
Hydrochloric and sulfuric acids are called inorganic substances
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Organic

(biology) Pertaining to or derived from living organisms.
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Inorganic

Lacking the properties characteristic of living organisms
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Organic

Pertaining to an organ of the body of a living organism.
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Organic

(chemistry) Relating to the compounds of carbon, relating to natural products.
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Organic

(agriculture) Of food or food products, grown in an environment free from artificial agrichemicals, and possibly certified by a regulatory body.
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Organic

(sociology) Describing a form of social solidarity theorized by Emile Durkheim that is characterized by voluntary engagements in complex interdependencies for mutual benefit (such as business agreements), rather than mechanical solidarity, which depends on ascribed relations between people (as in a family or tribe).
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Organic

(military) Of a military unit or formation, or its elements, belonging to a permanent organization (in contrast to being temporarily attached).
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Organic

Instrumental; acting as instruments of nature or of art to a certain destined function or end.
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Organic

Generated according to the ranking algorithms of a search engine, as opposed to paid placement by advertisers.
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Organic

Developing in a gradual or natural fashion.
The writing of the script was an organic process.
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Organic

Harmonious; coherent; structured.
The production came together in an organic whole.
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Organic

(chemistry) An organic compound.
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Organic

An organic food.
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Organic

(science fiction) A living organism, as opposed to a robot or hologram.
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Organic

Of or pertaining to an organ or its functions, or to objects composed of organs; consisting of organs, or containing them; as, the organic structure of animals and plants; exhibiting characters peculiar to living organisms; as, organic bodies, organic life, organic remains. Cf. Inorganic.
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Organic

Produced by the organs; as, organic pleasure.
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Organic

Instrumental; acting as instruments of nature or of art to a certain destined function or end.
Those organic arts which enable men to discourse and write perspicuously.
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Organic

Forming a whole composed of organs.
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Organic

Of or pertaining to compounds which are derivatives of hydrocarbons; pertaining to, or denoting, any one of a large series of carbon-containing compounds which are related to the carbon compounds produced by biological processes (such as methane, oils, fats, sugars, alcohols, ethers, proteins, etc.) and include many substances of artificial production which may or may not occur in animals or plants; - contrasted with inorganic.
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Organic

A fertilizer that is derived from animal or vegetable matter
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Organic

Relating or belonging to the class of chemical compounds having a carbon basis;
Hydrocarbons are organic compounds
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Organic

Of or relating to or derived from living organisms;
Organic soil
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Organic

Being or relating to or derived from or having properties characteristic of living organisms;
Organic life
Organic growth
Organic remains found in rock
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Organic

Involving or affecting physiology or bodily organs;
An organic disease
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Organic

Of or relating to foodstuff grown or raised without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides or hormones;
Organic eggs
Organic vegetables
Organic chicken
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Organic

Simple and healthful and close to nature;
An organic lifestyle
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Organic

Constitutional in the structure of something (especially your physical makeup)
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Organic

Organic refers to compounds containing carbon, typically derived from living organisms.
Organic farming avoids synthetic chemicals, using natural methods instead.
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Organic

Organic products are derived from natural sources, often without artificial additives or processes.
She prefers organic fruits due to their lack of pesticides.
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Organic

Organic growth refers to natural development, without external aids or acquisitions.
The company's organic growth was impressive, relying solely on internal resources.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is organic chemistry?

Organic chemistry studies carbon-containing compounds, primarily those involved in life processes.
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What are examples of organic compounds?

Organic compounds include sugars, proteins, and hydrocarbons.
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What is inorganic chemistry?

Inorganic chemistry deals with compounds not based on carbon-hydrogen bonds, including metals and minerals.
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Are all living things organic?

Yes, all living organisms are made up of organic compounds.
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Do organic compounds always come from nature?

Most organic compounds are derived from living organisms, but they can also be synthesized in laboratories.
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Can inorganic compounds be part of living organisms?

Yes, inorganic compounds like water and minerals are essential to living organisms.
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Are inorganic substances always synthetic?

Not necessarily. Inorganic substances can be both naturally occurring and synthetic.
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Are all carbon-containing compounds organic?

No, compounds like carbonates and oxides, despite containing carbon, are considered inorganic.
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Is carbon dioxide organic or inorganic?

Despite containing carbon, carbon dioxide is considered inorganic as it lacks carbon-hydrogen bonds.
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What are examples of inorganic compounds?

Inorganic compounds include water, salts, and metals.
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Is organic food healthier?

Organic food is often perceived as healthier due to the absence of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, though nutritional differences can vary.
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Can inorganic chemistry involve living processes?

Inorganic chemistry is essential in many biological processes but does not directly involve organic molecules.
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Are inorganic materials used in medicine?

Yes, inorganic materials are used in various medical applications, including diagnostics and implants.
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What is the environmental impact of organic practices?

Organic practices aim to reduce environmental impact by avoiding synthetic chemicals and promoting biodiversity.
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How do inorganic substances affect the environment?

Inorganic substances can have diverse environmental impacts, from essential nutrients to pollutants.
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Can organic compounds be toxic?

Yes, some organic compounds, like certain toxins produced by organisms, can be harmful.
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Are inorganic compounds always non-toxic?

No, many inorganic compounds can be toxic, such as heavy metals and certain gases.
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How do organic fertilizers differ from inorganic?

Organic fertilizers are derived from natural sources like compost, while inorganic fertilizers are chemically synthesized.
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What role do inorganic compounds play in technology?

Inorganic compounds are crucial in various technologies, including electronics, energy storage, and construction.
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How does organic chemistry impact medicine?

Organic chemistry is fundamental in pharmaceutical development, drug design, and understanding biological mechanisms.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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