Click the Study Aids tab at the bottom of the book to access your Study Aids (usually practice quizzes and flash cards).
Study Pass is our latest digital product that lets you take notes, highlight important sections of the text using different colors, create "tags" or labels to filter your notes and highlights, and print so you can study offline. Study Pass also includes interactive study aids, such as flash cards and quizzes.
Highlighting and Taking Notes:
If you've purchased the All Access Pass or Study Pass, in the online reader, click and drag your mouse to highlight text. When you do a small button appears – simply click on it! From there, you can select a highlight color, add notes, add tags, or any combination.
If you've purchased the All Access Pass, you can print each chapter by clicking on the Downloads tab. If you have Study Pass, click on the print icon within Study View to print out your notes and highlighted sections.
To search, use the text box at the bottom of the book. Click a search result to be taken to that chapter or section of the book (note you may need to scroll down to get to the result).
View Full Student FAQs
Chapter 16 Organic Chemistry
All life on Earth is ultimately based on photosynthesis—the process by which plants absorb CO2 and H2O from their environment and, in the presence of sunlight, convert those substances into a simple sugar (glucose) and ultimately starches and other building blocks of life. The net photosynthesis chemical reaction is as follows:
Oxygen is also a product of photosynthesis. Most forms of animal life (including people) depend on oxygen to breathe, which makes plants indispensible. Virtually all food sources come from plants, eaten either directly (as fruits, vegetables, or grains) or indirectly (as feedstock for meat animals such as cattle, poultry, pigs, sheep, goats, and the like). Plants are absolutely necessary for life to exist.
The net reaction for photosynthesis is misleadingly simple. A series of reactions, called light-dependent reactions, start by the absorption of light by pigments (not just chlorophyll, as commonly misunderstood) in plant cells. This is followed by a series of light-independent reactions, so named not because they happen in the dark but because they do not directly involve light; however, they involve the products of reactions stimulated by light, so they ultimately depend on light. The whole series of reactions involves many chemicals, enzymes, breaking and making chemical bonds, the transfer of electrons and H+ ions, and other chemical processes. The elucidation of the actual steps of photosynthesis—a process still unduplicated artificially—is a major achievement of modern chemistry.
In the presence of the sun, plants perform photosynthesis, the chemical reactions that convert CO2 and H2O to glucose. The reaction also produces O2, which is necessary for animal life. Virtually all life on Earth depends on photosynthesis.
Organic chemistry is the study of the chemistry of carbon compounds. Why focus on carbon? Carbon has properties that give its chemistry unparalleled complexity. It forms four covalent bonds, which give it great flexibility in bonding. It makes fairly strong bonds with itself (a characteristic called catenation), allowing for the formation of large molecules; it also forms fairly strong bonds with other elements, allowing for the possibility of a wide variety of substances. No other element demonstrates the versatility of carbon when it comes to making compounds. So an entire field of chemistry is devoted to the study of the compounds and reactivity of one element.
Because of the potential for complexity, chemists have defined a rather rigorous system to describe the chemistry of carbon. We will introduce some of that system in this chapter. Should you continue your study of chemistry beyond this text, you will find a much larger world of organic chemistry than we can cover in a single chapter.