Chemical Component Summary

Identifierscarbon monoxide
FormulaC O
Molecular Weight28.01
Isomeric SMILES[C-]#[O+]

Chemical Details

Formal Charge0
Atom Count2
Chiral Atom Count0
Bond Count1
Aromatic Bond Count0

Drug Info: DrugBank

DrugBank IDDB11588 
NameCarbon monoxide
  • approved
  • investigational
DescriptionCarbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that has a slightly lower density than air. It is toxic to hemoglobin utilizing animals (including humans), when encountered in concentrations above about 35 ppm, although it is also formed in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal biological/homeostatic functions [L2529]. Carbon monoxide (CO), is a ubiquitous environmental product of organic combustion, which is also formed endogenously in the human body, as the byproduct of heme metabolism [A32758]. Exhaled CO (eCO), similar to exhaled nitric oxide (eNO), has been evaluated as a candidate breath biomarker of pathophysiological states, including smoking status, and inflammatory diseases of the lung and other organs. Exhalation of corbon monoxide values have been studied as potential indicators of inflammation in asthma, stable COPD and exacerbations, cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, and during surgery or critical care [L2529]. A test of the diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide (DLCO), is one of the most clinically valuable tests of lung function testing. The technique was first described 100 years ago, and applied to clinical practice many years after. The DLCO measures the ability of the lungs to transfer gas from inhaled air to the red blood cells in pulmonary capillaries. The DLCO test is both convenient and simple for the patient to undergo. The ten seconds of breath-holding required for the DLCO maneuver is easier for most patients to perform than the forced exhalation required for other respiratory tests [L2557]. Carbon monoxide is presently used in small amounts in low oxygen modified atmosphere packaging systems (MAP) for fresh meat to stabilize and maintain natural meat color. This use of CO has been generally recognized as safe (GRAS) in several packaging applications for fresh meat products. Since 2002, FDA has favorably reviewed three GRAS notifications for carbon monoxide use in fresh meat packaging [L2537]. The FDA classifies this drug as permitted as a food additive in the packaging and preparation of food products, while following the federal code of regulations [L2531]. There have been several concerns voiced of over the use of carbon monoxide in food products [L2537], [L2538], [L2539]. The European Union has banned the use of carbon monoxide as a color stabilizer in meat and fish. A December 2001 report from the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Food concluded that the gas did not pose a risk provided that food was maintained adequately cold during storage and transport to prevent the growth of microorganisms [L2538]. In New Zealand, the use of carbon monoxide in fish preparation has been banned, as it may mask the effects of food spoilage and bacterial growth [L2539].
  • CO
  • Carboneum oxygenisatum
  • Carbon monoxide
  • carbon(II) oxide
Brand Names
  • Lung Diffusion Test Mixture
  • Lung Diffusion Test Mixture Gas
  • Co-NE-O2-N2 Mixture
  • Co-HE-O2-N2 Mixture
  • Lung Diffusion Test Mix Nohco
IndicationUsed as a marker of respiratory status in spirometry tests [L2557], [F4]. Food additive for pigment fixation in meat [L2531].
  • Anions
  • Carbon Compounds, Inorganic
  • Diagnostic Agents
  • Electrolytes
  • Gases
CAS number630-08-0

Drug Targets

NameTarget SequencePharmacological ActionActions
Alveolar cells-unknowndiffusing substance
Drug Info/Drug Targets: DrugBank 3.0: a comprehensive resource for 'omics' research on drugs. Knox C, Law V, Jewison T, Liu P, Ly S, Frolkis A, Pon A, Banco K, Mak C, Neveu V, Djoumbou Y, Eisner R, Guo AC, Wishart DS. Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Jan; 39 (Database issue):D1035-41. | PMID:21059682

Related Resource References

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