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Organophosphorus compounds are the class of organic compounds containing carbonphosphorus bonds. However, it is not necessary for the organophosphorus compounds to have direct phosphorus-carbon (P-C) bonds in order to be called an organophosphorus compound. Examples of phosphorus compounds are esters of organophosphorus acids (P(=O)(OR)3), phosphonic esters (RP(=O)(OR')2), phosphine oxides (R3P=O), phosphites (P(OR)3), organic fluorophosphate salts, organic phosphate salts, organophophorus acid halides, organophosphorus amides, organophosphorus complexes, and organophosphorus halides. Phosphines, phosphaalkenes, and phosphaalkynes are organophosphorus (III) compounds formed when phosphorus uses (1) three single bonds, (2) a double bond and a single bond and (3) a triple bond respectively for bonding.
Organophosphorus compounds are significant in organic synthesis, catalysis, biochemistry, pharmaceuticals, drug discovery, and material science. Most importantly they are widely applied in pharmaceuticals as they have various biological applications such as antibacterial, antileukemic, antiparasitic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antitumoral, antihypertensive, and antioxidant properties. Organophosphates are generally used in industrial and agricultural settings. They are also industrially used as fire-resistant hydraulic fluids, coolants and lubricants, flame retardants, and wood preservatives. Some of the organophosphorus compounds inhibit various serine esterases via phosphorylation of the active site.