- What is inorganic matter?
- Examples of inorganic matter
- What is organic matter?
- Differences between organic and inorganic matter
We explain what inorganic matter is and some examples. What is organic matter and its differences with inorganic matter.
Inorganic matter is not the product of life's own chemical reactions.
What is inorganic matter?
When we speak of inorganic matter we refer to all those chemical compounds whose molecular structure is not based primarily on the carbon atom and which, therefore, are not closely related to the chemistry of the life (the organic chemistry), neither are they biodegradable, nor are they generally combustible.
In other words, inorganic matter is that which is not, for the most part, a product of chemical reactions characteristic of life, but obeys the logic of ionic and electromagnetic attraction, thus experiencing much faster reactions. This does not mean that they are substances totally oblivious to living beings, since many of them are present in their bodies or serve as a food substrate (in the case of living beings autotrophs, especially).
Examples of inorganic matter
Some common inorganic substances are: Water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia (NH3), sulfuric acid (H2SO4), hydrochloric acid (HCl), sodium chloride (NaCl). The metalsTerrestrial minerals and the various salts they form are also examples of inorganic matter.
What is organic matter?
Organic matter is chemically composed around carbon.
Unlike inorganic, organic matter is that linked to the chemistry of life and that makes up the bodies, substances and derivatives of living beings. Organic matter is chemically composed around carbon as a fundamental element, which is why organic chemistry is also known as “carbon chemistry”.
Organic matter has a very different range of reactions from inorganic matter and is capable of forming long molecular chains (macromolecules) as those that make up the protein and sugars essential for life as we know it.
Differences between organic and inorganic matter
Inorganic matter is generally fireproof.
The differences between organic and inorganic matter can be summarized as follows:
- Organic matter is generated naturally by living beings, although organic compounds are also produced artificially today in chemical laboratories, for example, many types of plastics. On the other hand, inorganic matter is formed due to natural reactions in which life does not intervene, although some inorganic compounds such as CO2 are produced in reactions that are part of living beings. Inorganic compounds can also be formed in chemical laboratories.
- Organic matter is chemically composed around the atoms of carbon, this being its fundamental element. The inorganic has other elements in its place, although there are also inorganic compounds that contain carbon atoms, for example, carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO).
- Organic matter is biodegradable, that is, it can decompose by biological mechanisms or simple deterioration, reducing itself to its basic elements. Not so the inorganic one that, although it can suffer deterioration over time due to corrosion and the oxidation, it cannot be decomposed by biological mechanisms.
- Inorganic matter is generally non-combustible, while the main known fuels are of organic origin, such as Petroleum.
- Organic matter can present isomerism (molecules of the same constitution but different physicochemical properties, due to a different orientation of the atoms), while inorganic matter generally does not.