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Organic compounds that contain the group –SH (called the thiol group, mercapto group, or sulphydryl group). Thiols are analogues of alcohols in which the oxygen atom is replaced by a sulphur atom. They are named according to the parent hydrocarbon; e.g. ethane thiol (C2H5SH). A characteristic property is their strong disagreeable odour. For example the odour of garlic is produced by ethane thiol. Unlike alcohols they are acidic, reacting with alkalis and certain metals to form saltlike compounds. The older name, mercaptan, comes from their ability to react with (‘seize’) mercury.

Subjects: Chemistry.

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