Carbon Monoxide (CO) is the absolute simplest oxocarbon. It is a colourless, toxic gas. Carbon monoxide is the result of incomplete combustion, where not enough oxygen is present to create carbon dioxide. In the atmosphere, it is a primary reagent in the creation of ozone. Carbon monoxide is composed of a triple bond between the carbon atom, and the oxygen atom, with two of the bonds being normal covalent bonds, and the third a dative bond, where the oxygen donates an 2 electrons to the carbon atom. Carbon monoxide is flammable in the presence of oxygen, creating carbon dioxide.
Effects on life
Carbon monoxide in moderate concentrations is toxic to the human body, as it bonds to the oxygen weakly bonded to haemoglobin, and turns it into carbon dioxide, before bonding again to the haemoglobin, causing severe effects on the body. Carbon monoxide is also toxic to all other life forms using haemoglobin or similar proteins to transport oxygen.
- Carbon dioxide, a related compound