What are derivatives and their uses in chemistry?

White naphthalene balls in a shallow dish

In chemistry, a derivative is defined as a compound that is produced from a similar compound through chemical processes. It can also be achieved through decomposition and removal of certain functional groups from a compound.

While derivatives are sometimes needed for analytical purposes, it is important to avoid using too many. This is because chemical derivatives require additional reagents and generate more unwanted byproducts, which can have negative effects on the environment.

In fact, reducing the use of derivatives, especially in large-scale chemical manufacturing, is one of them. 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, Read on to learn more about what derivatives are and how they are used, as well as some common examples.

What is a derivative in chemistry?

A derivative is a chemical compound that is structurally derived from a parent compound through one or several steps. This may involve the use of reagents, catalysts, enzymes and reactants.

There are several ways to obtain a chemical derivation, one of which is through partial substitution of a functional group, while retaining a structural characteristic for each step. Commonly used in organic chemistry, the chemical derivation process allows compounds to be modified to serve a specific purpose.

Chemical derivatives can be simple or complex. They can also be unwanted temporary chemicals or desired end products.

How are derivatives used in chemistry?

Derivatives have many applications in chemistry, although they are mainly used for analytical purposes and to produce desired end products. The final products themselves are technically derivatives of the parent compounds.

analysis in organic chemistry

Before spectroscopic analysis became a common laboratory instrument, chemical derivatives were used in analytical chemistry. For example, performing melting point analysis on crystalline derivatives can help chemists identify a variety of unknown organic compounds.

Take 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazone , A derivative based on aldehydes or ketones , As an example. aldehydes and ketones They are mainly distinguished by the position of the carbonyl group. in one aldehydeThe carbonyl group is attached to a carbon at the end of the carbon chain, whereas a . In ketones It is attached to a carbon within the chain. Once the melting point is established, you can use a table of melting points as a reference to determine the basic organic chemistry.

production of desired end products

Many derivatives are transitory byproducts that are created through derivation process, In synthesizing important organic compounds such as drugs, blocking or protecting groups are used to temporarily block the chemical reaction of functional groups that are to be protected.

This is common in the modification of molecules containing multiple functional groups. Only one target functional group is exposed to chemical reactions. The most reactive but non-target functional group usually requires protection from other reactants.

A protective group masks a functional group to prevent it from reacting. Consider the example given below. A diol is converted to an aldehyde through the use of an oxidizing agent. However, one of the hydroxyl groups is protected by introducing a protecting group. The protecting group is removed after the oxidation process.

examples of derivatives in chemistry

Organic chemical derivatives are used to make a variety of products, including semi-synthetic antibiotics, as well as a variety of industrial and household items. For example, naphthalene (a derivative of benzene) is often used as an insect repellent.

white naphthalene balls in a shallow dish

white naphthalene balls

Some examples of chemical derivatives are summarized below.

  1. Carboxylic acid derivatives are derived from a broad range of chemical derivatives carboxylic acids, A carboxylic acid consists of a carbon bonded to a hydroxyl group and double-bonded to an oxygen. The R group varies, thus determining the type of compound. Some common types of compounds in this category include:
    • ester The hydrogen of the hydroxyl group is replaced by another R group. is an example of ethyl acetateWhich is used in gum, nail varnish remover and in the decaffeination process of coffee and tea.
    • acyl halide In this type of compound, the hydroxyl group is replaced by a halogen. Benzoyl bromide is an example of an acyl halide. It is often used in tear gas and micro emulsions.
    • amides The hydroxyl group is replaced by an amino group. An example of this is N-methylacetamide, which is a metabolite.
  2. benzene derivativesherbicideAnother broad class of derivatives are derived from benzene. Some of these can also be derived from other groups of chemicals, including carboxylic acids. Benzene is an aromatic, cyclic hydrocarbon containing six carbons and six hydrogens. The bonds between the carbons change from a single bond to a double bond. A benzene ring minus a hydrogen is called a phenyl group. Here are some examples of benzene derivatives:
    • chlorobenzene – One of the halogenated benzenes, chlorobenzene has one chlorine atom per molecule. It is commonly used in the production of herbs and rubber./li>
    • toluene – It is a substituted aromatic hydrocarbon containing a methyl group attached to a phenyl group, which replaces the hydrogen from the parent benzene molecule. It is often found in paint solvents and can also be used as an octane booster in gasoline.
    • benzaldehyde – The simplest aromatic aldehyde with a formyl substitution, benzaldehyde is often used as an artificial almond flavoring for food products. Some cosmetics and personal care products also contain this compound.

Avoiding Chemical Derivatives

It is important to avoid using unnecessary derivatives in chemistry because they require additional reagents and generate additional waste. And of course, it’s not good for the environment. One way to reduce intermediate derivatives and protect groups is to use enzymes.

Many intended organic compounds can be synthesized from parent compounds simply by introducing enzymes. This can help eliminate the need for additional reagents and reduce intermediate products. A classic example of this simplified process is the manufacture of semi-synthetic antibiotics such as ampicillin and amoxicillin. closeup of white amoxicillin pill

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