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7 years ago


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In the earlier period of development of chemistry, chemists tried their best to synthesis organic compounds in the laboratory. But all their efforts proved to be futile. Their failures led them to believe that organic compounds could be prepared only by and within living beings and that they could never be synthesized in the laboratory like inorganic compounds. In other words, they believed that the synthesis of these compounds within the plants and animals required some mysterious force. This force was called vital force and theory was referred to as Vital force theory.

However, the vital force theory received a crippling blow in 1828 when Freidrich Wohler, a German chemist accidentally obtained urea, (NH2)2 CO, an organic compound found in the urine of mammals. In fact, Wohler tried to prepare ammonium cyanate, a substance with mineral origin, by heating ammonium sulphate and potassium cyanate. But order the reaction conditions, ammonium cyanate rearranged to urea, a compound which was of organic nature.

This chance discovery of Wohler brought about a revolution in the field of organic chemistry. The synthesis of organic compounds no longer remained a mystery and many acetic acid. Hennel (1828) prepared ethyl alcohol, Berthelot (1856) prepared methane etc. in the laboratory from mineral resources. The synthesis of organic compounds altogether changed the very concept of organic chemistry. By the middle of nineteenth century, the Vital force theory was completely discarded. Chemists then never looked back and at present about ninety five per cent of the organic compounds are man-made.

7 years ago

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