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Chemistry LibreTexts

Related Derivatives

Other functional group combinations with the carbonyl group can be prepared from carboxylic acids, and are usually treated as related derivatives. Five common classes of these carboxylic acid derivatives are listed in the following table. Although nitriles do not have a carbonyl group, they are included here because the functional carbon atoms all have the same oxidation state. The top row (yellow shaded) shows the general formula for each class, and the bottom row (light blue) gives a specific example of each. As in the case of amines, amides are classified as 1º, 2º or 3º, depending on the number of alkyl groups bonded to the nitrogen.


Functional groups of this kind are found in many kinds of natural products. Some examples are shown below with the functional group colored red. Most of the functions are amides or esters, cantharidin being a rare example of a natural anhydride. Cyclic esters are called lactones, and cyclic amides are referred to as lactams. Penicillin G has two amide functions, one of which is a β-lactam. The Greek letter locates the nitrogen relative to the carbonyl group of the amide.