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Heterocyclic compound

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Pyridine simple structure

Pyridine a simple heterocyclic compound

Heterocyclic compounds are organic compounds that contain a ring structure containing atoms in addition to carbon, such as sulfur, oxygen or nitrogen, as part of the ring. They may be either simple aromatic rings or non-aromatic rings. Some examples are pyridine (C5H5N), pyrimidine (C4H4N2) and dioxane (C4H8O2).

Note that compounds such as cyclopropane, an anaesthetic with explosive properties, and cyclohexane, a solvent, are not heterocyclic, they are merely cycloalkanes. The suffix '-cyclic' implies a ring structure, while 'hetero' refers to an atom other than carbon, as above.

Heterocyclic chemistry is the chemistry branch dealing exclusively with synthesis, properties and applications of heterocycles especially vital to drug design.

3-membered ringsEdit

Heterocycles with three atoms in the ring are more reactive because of ring strain. Those containing one heteroatom are generally stable. Those with two heteroatoms are more likely to occur as reactive intermediates. Common 3-membered heterocycles are:

4-membered ringsEdit

5-membered ringsEdit

With heterocycles containing five atoms, the unsaturated compounds are frequently more stable because of aromaticity.

6-membered ringsEdit

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