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Hydroxyls (also referred to as alcohols) are those organic compounds that contain the group OH attached to a carbon atom. Compounds containing hydroxyl groups have wide range of applications in almost every field of chemistry and biology. They are used as synthetic intermediates and starting materials in an enormous number of organic reactions. They also find applications in the chemical industry as solvents, cleanser, cosmetics, fuels, alcoholic beverages and for the preservation of specimens.
Aldehydes and ketones are organic compounds containing a carbonyl group represented by the formula, RCHO and RC(=O)R respectively. Aldehydes and ketones generally take part in addition-elimination reactions (also called as condensation) and reactions at alpha-carbons prominently. Aldehydes and ketones are mainly used as solvents, perfumes and flavouring agents or as raw materials/intermediates in the manufacture of polymers, dyes, pharmaceuticals, and natural products. They also find use as important organic reagents that are frequently used in research and various industries.
Those organic compounds that correspond to the formula R-O-R are ethers (R and R are organic groups attached through carbon). Owing to the inert nature & wide range of physical properties among various ethers, they are widely used as solvents in organic synthesis and in industry for fats, oils, waxes, perfumes, resins, dyes, gums, and hydrocarbons. Ethers play a significant role in medicine and pharmacology.