Organic compounds constitute a large class of chemical compounds characterized by the presence of carbon atoms as essential and main components of them. The exceptions include carbides, cyanides, and carbonates.
Organic compounds are copiously used in our daily life, ranging from the food and drinks we take to the air we breathe. Let us now look closely at how organic compounds are being utilized in their various forms and have become an essential to our living regimes.
Sucrose is an organic compound that is a carbohydrate and a disaccharide. Sucrose is the chemical name of the common table sugar also known as white sugar. Other forms of sucrose include brown sugar, powdered sugar and honey.
Sucrose is most commonly used as a sweetener in various types of foods and beverages, such as soft drinks, juices, cakes and bakery products. Apart from its usage in the refined form, it is also naturally present in various fruits and vegetables.
Although being superfluously used in food industry, various health associations recommend limiting its intake to 6 and 9 grams for men and women, respectively.
In scenarios where the direct intake of sucrose has been prohibited, like diabetes, artificial sweeteners take its place. The most common among these are sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin (with their associated health risks).
Sucrose also serves as the direct and first source of energy for the body. As it is a disaccharide (composed of two sugar subunits), it’s metabolism in the body yields two glucose molecules which function as an instant source of energy for the body.
Moreover, excess amounts are stored in the form of glycogen in the body which is a major energy reserve of the animal body.
Another use is as a preservative in various foods. High amounts are added most commonly to jams and jellies to increase not only their shelf lives but also for decelerating the growth of various bacteria and fungi.
Glucose belongs to carbohydrates and is a simplest of them. It is also known as dextrose and is a monosaccharide meaning that is contains a single glucose molecule. Constituting the major sugar of most fruits and honey, it is the prime form of free circulating sugar in the blood of higher animals and humans.
Besides being a chief source of energy for the body, it also maintains the proper functioning of the cells, tissues and organs of the body. While optimal levels of glucose can hardly be noticed, any aberrations beyond the optimal levels can never go un observed as these are immediately implicated in health effects.
A common example includes the lower level of glucose in the body – a condition known as hypoglycemia symptomized by loss of consciousness, dizziness, headache and sometimes seizures.
Glucose is also used to provide the required calories to sick persons who are unable to eat or drink. The most common route of provision is through glucose solutions via intravenous route. Also, another usage is its administration to excessive alcoholic sick people.
It is also a type of carbohydrates, a polysaccharide (composed of many individual sugar molecules), and probably the most important component of the human diet. It is most commonly extracted from agricultural materials which are used as their principal raw resources.
Since starch is biodegradable in nature, it also serves as an important and suitable raw material for the substitution of fossil fuels. Moreover, various chemical applications also use starch as their major raw materials such as detergents and glues, etc.
After extraction, the basic form of starch is a white powdery material which is odorless and tasteless. It is commonly used in the food industry for thickening purposes. For example, most of the recipes of various soups include its usage as a thickening agent.
Maltodextrin is a rather processed for of starch obtained by its mild hydrolyzation. This processing step is basically used to increase the solubilization of the starch. The examples include their usage as sports drinks and bottle feeding formulas to provide for infant nutrition.
Since starch is made up of long chains of individual sugar molecules, its hydrolysis yields sugars that are then used for various purposes such as food, beverages and confectionery industries. Moreover, they also hold applications in pharmaceutical and fermentation industries too.
Acetic acid is an organic compound having a colorless appearance and a strong pungent odor. It is also known as methanecarboxylic acid or ethanoic acid. Vinegar is its diluted form and also the most common form used in daily life among people.
In industry, acetic acid is used for the production of various substrates used in other chemical reaction. It is also used as a solvent for crystallization purposes thereby emphasizing its utility for the purification of other organic compounds.
Moreover, it is used as a starting material for the production of other chemicals too such as vinyl acetate, acetic anhydride, various esters, and vinegar.
In medicine, acetic acid can be used as an antiseptic and antimicrobial agent. Studies have shown its efficacy as an antimicrobial agent at a concentration of 3%. A 3-5% solution of acetic acid is also used in the screening of putative cervical cancer patients via visual examination.
Another application involves the use of 1-2% solution of acetic acid in water for lysis of red blood cells in a sample so as to ease the visualization of white blood cells.
Talking about the food industry, acetic acid finds its most common use in pickling, condiments and salads’ seasoning. Additionally, it also holds baking applications in that when mixed with alkaline agents (such as baking soda), a gas is produced which gives the baked goods a soft and puffy texture.
Other household uses of acetic acid are frequently in the form of vinegar. From its uses in cooking, cleaning, and baking, it is also used in laundry and disinfection of livestock silage. Besides, it is also being used in the manufacture of inks, perfumes, various dyes, rubbers, and plastics.
Fats and oils
Fats and oils are also organic compounds which constitute the basic food item of our daily consumption. First of all, fats contain and provide twice the amount of energy as compared to carbohydrates and proteins when metabolized in the body.
Besides being the stored energy reserves, they also help the body perform various functions. Also, they are important for the proper circulation of fat-soluble vitamins in the body some of which are also important in various signaling processes.
Hydrocarbons are the simplest forms of organic compounds that contain only carbon and hydrogen in them. Although they contain only two types of elements but the contain a huge variety in them, differing with respect to their chemical, compositions, number of atoms and then different bonding arrangements between them.
Methane is the simplest of the hydrocarbons and constitutes the main ingredient of the natural gas. Most commonly found from the landfills, it is used as an energy source for the production of electricity which is then utilized for various purposes such as keeping buildings warm and powering vehicles.
More examples of hydrocarbons being utilized in daily life include ethyne, propane, propyne, butane, ethane, and butadiene.