A hydroxyl is a chemical group containing an oxygen atom covalently bonded with a hydrogen atom. In inorganic chemistry, the hydroxyl group is known as the hydroxide ion,[1] and scientists and reference works generally use these different terms though they refer to the same chemical structure in different chemical combinations.[2]

The neutral form of the hydroxyl group is a hydroxyl radical. The hydroxyl anion (OH) is called hydroxide; it is a diatomic ion with a single negative electronic charge. In discussions of synthetic methods in organic chemistry the hydroxyl group (–OH) is referred to as a functional group, when it is linked to a larger organic molecule.


Hydroxyl group

Hydroxy Group Structural Formulae.svg The term hydroxyl group is used to describe the functional group –OH when it is a substituent in an organic compound. Representative organic molecules containing a hydroxyl group are known as alcohols (the simplest of which have the formula CnH2n+1OH). Hydroxyl groups are especially important in biological chemistry because of their tendency to form hydrogen bonds both as donor and acceptor. This property is also related to their ability to increase hydrophilicity and water solubility. The hydroxyl group is especially predominant in the family of molecules known as carbohydrates.

Hydroxyl radical

3D model of hydroxyl group.

The hydroxyl radical, ·OH, is the neutral form of the hydroxide ion. Hydroxyl radicals are highly reactive and, as a consequence, short-lived; however, they form an important part of radical chemistry.

Hydroxyl free radicals cause damage to oxidative cells, particularly erythrocytes (or red blood cells). These free radicals can damage DNA, lipids, and proteins. Hydroxyl radicals may be harmful to humans.[3] Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is an enzyme the body produces to destroy OH-, before it starts damaging the cells. People with G6PD deficiency are protected against malaria because the plasmodium (the parasites that cause malaria) cannot survive in the damaged blood cells.[citation needed] On the other hand, people with G6PD deficiency are prone to jaundice and kidney disease.[citation needed]

Non-terrestrial observation

Lunar observation

On September 24, 2009 the scientific journal Science reported that India's Chandrayaan-1 satellite, NASA's Cassini spacecraft and the Deep Impact probe have each detected the presence of water by evidence of hydroxyl fragments on the Moon. As reported by Richard Kerr, "A spectrometer (the Moon Mineralogy Mapper, aka "M3"), detected an infrared absorption at a wavelength of 3.0 micrometers that only water or hydroxyl–a hydrogen and an oxygen bound together–could have created."[4]

NASA reported on November 13, 2009 that the LCROSS probe revealed an ultraviolet emission spectrum consistent with hydroxyl presence.[5]

Venus observation

The Venus Express orbiter has been continuously sending back Venus science data since April 11, 2006. Results from Venus Express include the detection of hydroxyl in the atmosphere.

See also


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  • Hydroxyl — Hy*drox yl, n. [Hydro , 2 + oxygen + yl.] (Chem.) A compound radical, or unsaturated group, {HO}, consisting of one atom of hydrogen and one of oxygen. It is a characteristic part of the hydrates, the alcohols, the oxygen acids, etc. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hydroxyl — Hydroxyl, in der Chemie die einwertige Atomgruppe OH, die wie ein einwertiges Atom auftritt und z. B. häufig in chemischen Verbindungen Chlor ersetzt oder durch andre einwertige Atome ersetzt wird …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Hydroxyl — Hydroxyl, in der Chemie die einwertige Atomgruppe OH, tritt wie ein einwertiges Atom auf und wird in Verbindungen oft durch einwertige Atome (Chlor, Brom u.s.w.) ersetzt; s.a. Hydrate. Bujard …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Hydroxyl... — Hydroxyl...,   Bezeichnung der chemischen Nomenklatur, die das Vorliegen einer kovalent gebundenen Hydroxylgruppe, OH, v. a. bei anorganischen Verbindungen kennzeichnet, z. B. beim Hydroxylamin (bei organischen Verbindungen nur, wenn die… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • hydroxyl — [hī dräks′il] n. [ HYDR(O) + OX(YGEN) + YL] the monovalent radical OH, present in all hydroxides hydroxylic [hī΄dräks il′ik] adj …   English World dictionary

  • Hydroxyl — Der Begriff Hydroxyl bezeichnet: die Hydroxygruppe das Hydroxyl Radikal das Hydroxidion Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselben Wort bezeichneter Begriffe …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • hydroxyl — hydroxylic, /huy drok sil ik/, adj. /huy drok seuhl/, adj. containing the hydroxyl group. Also, hydroxy. [1865 70; HYDR 2 + OX(Y) + YL] * * * …   Universalium

  • Hydroxyl — ◆ Hy|dro|xyl 〈n. 11〉 = Hydroxylgruppe ◆ Die Buchstabenfolge hy|dr... kann in Fremdwörtern auch hyd|r... getrennt werden. * * * Hy|d|ro|xyl [↑ Hydroxy u. ↑ yl, auch ↑ hydro (1) u. ↑ oxyl] …   Universal-Lexikon

  • hydroxyl- — hidroksi statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Grupė. formulė HO– atitikmenys: angl. hydroxy ; hydroxyl rus. гидрокси ; гидроксил ryšiai: sinonimas – hidroksil sinonimas – hidroksilas …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • Hydroxyl radical — IUPAC name Hydroxyl radical …   Wikipedia

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