- Chemically, a compound or molecule containing carbon bound to hydrogen. Organic compounds make up all living matter. The term organic frequently is used to distinguish "natural" products or processes from man-made "synthetic" ones. Thus natural fertilizers include manures or rock phosphate, as opposed to fertilizers synthesized from chemical feedstocks. Likewise, organic farming and organic foods refer to the growing of food crops without the use of synthetic chemical pesticides or fertilizers; pests are controlled by cultivation techniques and the use of pesticides derived from natural sources (e.g., rotenone and pyrethrins, both from plants) and the use of natural fertilizers (e.g., manure and compost). Some consumers, alleging risks from synthetic chemicals, prefer organic food products. The FACT Act of 1990 required USDA to define organic foods for marketing purposes and implement a National Organic Program.
- a term applied to molecules containing carbon, except those that are derivatives of carbon dioxide; practically all organic molecules contain carbon atoms linked together
Source: Noland, George B. 1983. General Biology, 11th Edition. St. Louis, MO. C. V. Mosby