Carbon monoxide (CO), also called carbonous oxide, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly lighter than air. It can be toxic to humans and animals when encountered in higher concentrations, although it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal biological functions. In the atmosphere however, it is short lived and spatially variable, since it combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide and ozone. Carbon monoxide consists of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom, connected by a triple bond that consists of two covalent bonds as well as one dative covalent bond. It is the simplest oxocarbon, and isoelectronic with the cyanide ion and molecular nitrogen. In coordination complexes the carbon monoxide ligand is called carbonyl.
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