Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1126-3


The term Organometallic refers to compounds containing organic moieties bonded to a metal, often covalently. Many organometallic complexes feature coordination bonds between a metal and an organic ligand. The organic ligand often binds the metal through a heteroatom such as oxygen or nitrogen, in which case such compounds are considered coordination compounds. However, if any of the ligands form a direct metal–carbon bond, then the complex is usually considered organometallic. There are many naturally occurring organic coordination compounds. For example, the protein hemoglobin contains four heme groups in which an iron ion is coordinated to the nitrogen atoms of the porphyrin rings. Similarly, magnesium is coordinated via nitrogen atoms at the center of chlorophyll. In contrast, the coenzyme methylcobalamin, which has a cobalt–methyl bond, is a true organometallic complex.

See Also


Nitrogen Atom Bioorganic Chemistry Organic Ligand Coordination Compound Coordination Bond 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI)Tokyo Institute of Technology, Meguro-kuTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Institute for Advanced StudyPrincetonUSA
  3. 3.Blue Marble Space Institute of ScienceWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Center for Chemical EvolutionGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA