What is the definition for an inorganic molecule?

2 Answers
Oct 6, 2015

A molecule which does not contain carbon.


"Inorganic" is defined as not containing any carbon molecules. I t was originally defined as coming from a living organism, but some substances that are produced biotically can also be produced abiotically, so the definition changed to anything containing carbon molecules.

This can be tricky, because the quick answer is any molecule which does not contain carbon. There are some exceptions to this though...


Pure forms of carbon (like diamond) are considered to be inorganic because of its status as a mineral.

Carbon oxide compounds (carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide) are also considered to be inorganic.

Carbonate compounds (#CaCO_3#) are also considered to be inorganic even though they have carbon atoms.

Hint: Look for molecules which will have C-H bonds, if those are present the compound is organic.

Here is a video which summarizes some key points about organic molecules.

Video from: Noel Pauller

Hope this helps!