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Therefore, organisms consist of organized systems of organs containing organic molecules. A very strong link exists between organic chemistry and the chemistry of living things, which is called biochemistry, or biological chemistry. Modern chemistry has considerably altered the original meanings of the terms organic and inorganic, because it is now possible to manufacture unique organic molecules that cannot be produced by living things. Many of the materials we use daily are the result of the organic chemist’s art.

2 Carbon: The Central Atom All organic molecules, whether they are natural or synthetic, have certain common characteristics. The carbon atom, which is the central atom in all organic molecules, has some unusual properties. 2 Natural and Synthetic Organic Compounds Some organic materials, such as rubber, were originally produced by plants but are now synthesized in industry. The photograph on the left shows the collection of latex from the rubber tree. After processing, this naturally occurring organic material will be converted into products such as gloves, condoms, and tubing.

This attraction between ions of opposite charge results in the Enger−Ross: Concepts in Biology, Tenth Edition II. Cells Anatomy and Action 2. Simple Things of Life © The McGraw−Hill Companies, 2002 Chapter 2 formation of a stable group of ions. This force of attraction is termed an ionic bond. Compounds that form as a result of attractions between ions are called ionic compounds and are very important in living systems. We can categorize these ionic compounds into three different groups. + attract positively charged hydrogen ions (H+).

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