Organic chemistry

Definition

Organic chemistry is the study of the synthesis, structure, reactivity and properties of the diverse group of chemical compounds primarily constructed of carbon. All life on earth is carbon-based, thus organic chemistry is also the basis of biochemistry. The ability to form compounds containing long chains of carbon atoms is the basis of polymer chemistry.

Featured

  • News and Views |

    Rhodium catalysts have been developed that can be tuned to produce two different products from methane. The findings could aid the development of industrial processes that exploit this abundant resource.

    • Ive Hermans
    Nature 551, 575–576
  • News and Views |

    Carbon–hydrogen bonds in organic molecules can be cut to install other chemical groups on the carbon atom, but these reactions have been limited. A catalytic palladium complex opens up fresh opportunities.

    • Joanna Wencel-Delord
    •  & Françoise Colobert
    Nature 551, 447–448

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    The direct arylation of C–H bonds is an attractive synthetic step, but the reductive elimination of an organometallic catalyst carrying the desired C–H and aryl functionalities has remained challenging. Now, this step has been achieved by first oxidizing the iridium centre of the catalyst, which facilitates the arylation of arene C–H bonds of a range of substrates.

    • Kwangmin Shin
    • , Yoonsu Park
    • , Mu-Hyun Baik
    •  & Sukbok Chang
  • Research |

    Catalytic transformations that incorporate carbonyl functional groups in arene C–H bonds have remained limited, despite being attractive synthetic steps. Now, the intermolecular carbonylative coupling of a broad range of simple arenes into ketones has been developed. The reaction occurs through the palladium-catalysed generation of high-energy aroyl triflate electrophiles.

    • R. Garrison Kinney
    • , Jevgenijs Tjutrins
    • , Gerardo M. Torres
    • , Nina Jiabao Liu
    • , Omkar Kulkarni
    •  & Bruce A. Arndtsen
  • Research | | open

    Polycyclic meroterpenoids show a wide range of biological activities. Here, the authors report a modular approach to synthesize a number of natural and non-natural tetracyclic meroterpenoids, which display antibiotic activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

    • Raphael Wildermuth
    • , Klaus Speck
    • , Franz-Lucas Haut
    • , Peter Mayer
    • , Bianka Karge
    • , Mark Brönstrup
    •  & Thomas Magauer
  • Research | | open

    Carminic acid is a widely applied red colorant that is still harvested from insects because its biosynthesis is not fully understood. Here, the authors identify and characterize a membrane-bound C-glucosyltransferase catalyzing the final step during carminic acid biosynthesis.

    • Rubini Kannangara
    • , Lina Siukstaite
    • , Jonas Borch-Jensen
    • , Bjørn Madsen
    • , Kenneth T. Kongstad
    • , Dan Staerk
    • , Mads Bennedsen
    • , Finn T. Okkels
    • , Silas A. Rasmussen
    • , Thomas O. Larsen
    • , Rasmus J. N. Frandsen
    •  & Birger Lindberg Møller
  • Research |

    Selectively targeting native amino acids for late-stage protein modification is a significant challenge, but now it has been shown that photoredox catalysis can be used to specifically target protein C-termini toward decarboxylative-alkylation with Michael acceptors. This technology harnesses innate differences in side-chain oxidation potentials to select between the various functional groups typical among proteins in order to form a single modified product.

    • Steven Bloom
    • , Chun Liu
    • , Dominik K. Kölmel
    • , Jennifer X. Qiao
    • , Yong Zhang
    • , Michael A. Poss
    • , William R. Ewing
    •  & David W. C. MacMillan
  • Research |

    A centimetre-long string formed by the hierarchical self-assembly of a photoresponsive amphiphilic molecular motor — composed of 95 wt% of water — undergoes muscle-like contraction. Under irradiation, rotary motion at the molecular level is amplified through non-covalent interactions to sustain a fast macroscopic mechanical motion of large amplitude.

    • Jiawen Chen
    • , Franco King-Chi Leung
    • , Marc C. A. Stuart
    • , Takashi Kajitani
    • , Takanori Fukushima
    • , Erik van der Giessen
    •  & Ben L. Feringa

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Rhodium catalysts have been developed that can be tuned to produce two different products from methane. The findings could aid the development of industrial processes that exploit this abundant resource.

    • Ive Hermans
    Nature 551, 575–576
  • News and Views |

    Carbon–hydrogen bonds in organic molecules can be cut to install other chemical groups on the carbon atom, but these reactions have been limited. A catalytic palladium complex opens up fresh opportunities.

    • Joanna Wencel-Delord
    •  & Françoise Colobert
    Nature 551, 447–448
  • News and Views |

    Small-molecule organic dyes that fluoresce in the short-wave infrared region of the spectrum could improve the resolution of in vivo bioimaging methods. Such dyes have now been made by adapting those that fluoresce visible light.

    • Martin J. Schnermann
    Nature 551, 176–177
  • News and Views |

    Although predicted many years ago, chemically reactive termolecular reactions were thought to be unimportant in defining the behaviour of combustion systems. Now, calculations have shown that such reactions between radicals and long-lived bimolecular complexes can actually play an important role in hydrogen combustion.

    • Rex T. Skodje
    Nature Chemistry 9, 1038–1039