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I wonder if all nitrate salt of reaction will release oxygen in combustion, just like KNO3? Superdvd (talk) 10:49, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Don't understand your question... Jimjamjak (talk) 10:53, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
"Potassium nitrate is the most important ingredient in terms of both bulk and function because the combustion process releases oxygen from the potassium nitrate; thus promoting the rapid burning of the other ingredients" (paragraph found in acticle "black powder") What I want to ask is that: will Ca(NO3)2 or Al(NO3)3 have the same property? Actually I am not quite understand why KNO3 will undergoes that reaction too. Superdvd (talk) 11:01, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Picture of Nitrate[edit]

Is the picture misleading as it has 3 (-) charges on the oxygens and a (+) charge on the Nitrogen? I think that this resonance structure would make better sense if the (-) charges were denoted as partial negative charges.

yes the above problem does exists and can somebody please add the bond lengths and possibly the bond angles to the picture. Chemfreak20 (talk) 12:16, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Amyl nitrate or nitrite[edit]

I believe that the medical work of T. L. Brunton was with amyl nitrite, not amyl nitrate. See the following: T. L. Brunton, "On the use of nitrite of amyl in angina pectoris", Lancet, 2 97, 1867. (I'm putting this at the top of this discussion page in hopes someone will see it. Move as necessary.) -- Astrochemist 00:57, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

I forgot to add that I'm pretty sure F. Guthrie worked with amyl nitrite, not amyl nitrate. -- Astrochemist 01:05, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Surface water nitrate[edit]

The description of nitrate entry into surface waters:

"The principal pathway of entering aquatic systems is through surface runoff from agricultural or landscaped areas which have received excess nitrate fertilizer."

This is inconsistent with the map image of global nitrate concentrations, which shows that the souther oceans, surrounding the not-highly-fertilized south pole, has the highest levels of nitrate.

Well, it's not really inconsistent at all. A major source of nitrate for the oceans is still runoff from rivers. This may be a small flux compared to the standing stock of nitrate (cf. the Southern Ocean), but it's not incorrect. As it happens, according to Tyrrell (1999, Nature 400, 525-531) the largest flux of N into the oceans is via nitrogen fixation (4.9x1012 mol y-1), followed by atmospheric deposition (2.7x1012 mol -1), followed by riverine runoff (2.2x1012 mol -1). However, nitrogen fixation isn't as well quantified a flux as the others (more difficult to measure than what does down rivers). Does this help? --Plumbago 11:03, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Further to my earlier note, I see what you mean now about the section this text appears in. It needs to be clearer that it's referring to freshwater or estuarine systems close to land. It's got nothing to do with the open oceans. I've started tweaking the text, but it still needs to be clearer. Anyway, thanks for drawing attention this way. Cheesr, --Plumbago 11:23, 1 September 2006 (UTC)


  • Shouldn't this be NO3 not No3? 01:56, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
It should be and is NO3.-- 12:13, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Confusion between 'Nitrate' and 'Nitrite'[edit]

The wikipedia page for "nitrate" says "Nitrates should not be confused with nitrites, the salts of nitrous acid" but the Nitrite page say "Nitrites should not be confused with nitrates, the salts of nitric acid, or with nitro compounds, though they share the formula NO2" but then the nitrate page says "Later, in 1859 Frederick Guthrie worked with amyl nitrate and noticed that accidental inhalation of it led to face and neck flushing and heart palpitations. It was linked with vasodilatation" and the nitrate page refers to alkyl nitrites as poppers ... and "Amyl nitrite is used in medicine for the treatment of heart diseases".

It seems that the wiki pages are guilty of the sin that they warn others about! I'm not a chemist, but would appreciate some clarification in the articles. If, in some solutions (such as aqueous), the difference between nitrite and nitrate is rather fluid, then perhaps the warning "Nitrxte should not be confused with nitrxtes" should be weakened.

DavidRCrowe 04:36, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Also, the article includes a bit on how nitrites act in the body, "Nitrites oxidize the iron atoms in hemoglobin from ferrous iron (2+) to ferric iron (3+), rendering it unable to carry oxygen[4]." Since there is an article specifically for nitrites, this passage should be moved there. Alyks (talk) 17:26, 3 October 2009 (UTC)


Does Nitrate (NO3) react with H3O+? I read that in a book and think it should be included in the article.

Well, nitric acid is a strong acid and is therefore almost completely dissociated. In other words, the acid dissociation equilibrium lies far to the products side (right hand side):
HNO3(aq) + H2O(l) ⇌ H3O+(aq) + NO3(aq)
Ben (talk) 17:39, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

Scientific American article[edit]

Has anyone read Bad Rap for Nitrate? from Scientific American? It claims that nitrates are actually beneficial. —Wulf 18:12, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Some mention should be made of possible health benefits of nitrates. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:CF99:2080:2D2F:5308:5DE7:7E8 (talk) 14:23, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

The Nitrate PT[edit]

Hey, in the periodic table Yttrium has the symbol CY on it (presumably a typo), but I'm a wiki noob and don't know how to change that :S dddddd —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:44, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Thanks for spotting the error: I have fixed it V8rik (talk) 16:28, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Empirical Formula[edit]

The article says "The nitrate ion is a polyatomic ion with the empirical formula NO3−," Thats just the molecular formular, and although it is too the empirical formula theres no need to call it so. Unless im missing something? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:49, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree, so I'm changing it. Alyks (talk) 01:26, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Maximum concentration question[edit]

According to surface and tapwater regulations where I live, the concentration of nitrate shouldn't exceed 50 mg/l (aiming value for surface water, strict for tapwater, apparently). For nitrite however, the maximum in tapwater is a strict 0.1 mg/l. Considering that nitrate can metabolize to nitrite, as explained in the article and in the surrounding documentation, why is there 500 times more nitrate allowed in tapwater than nitrite? Does on average only 0.2% of the nitrate metabolize? Or does it only happen in infants, who are after all supposed to be suckling and therefore shielded from nitrate in tapwater? Or is there some other reason? (talk) 01:47, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Nitrate and plants[edit]

Perhaps a section on nitrate and plants would be sensible. Plants use nitrate for the majority of their nitrogen supply, and so i reckon this is quite relevant. Silasmellor (talk) 10:15, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

I agree, more attention needs to be placed on how plants use nitrate and on nitrate fertilizers. Ammonium nitrate in particular is widely used in agriculture, and the other main sources of agricultural nitrogen, ammonia and urea, eventually oxidize to nitrate in the soil. Perhaps its placement in the nitrogen cycle is also relevant? Rdnckj258 (talk) 03:05, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

NPOV-Human Health[edit]

I took out the word "ironic" in that section because it didn't sound scientific. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:43, 25 May 2010 (UTC)


In 'Marine toxicity': "when nutrients become limiting then eutrophication can occur". The enrichment of water bodies by (more than normal levels of) nutrients (such as nitrogen) is already eutrophication. Also, for what are the nutrients supposed to become limiting? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fruitbakje (talkcontribs) 14:50, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Cancer section[edit]

An IP editor has removed the entire section on cancer causality without explanation. On examining the references, however, I am not convinced of their neutrality. If someone wants to restore this section I would insist on reportage from the medical community. Mangoe (talk) 13:11, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

I agree. There is a considerable body of medical and bio-chemical research linking both nitrate and nitrite to an increased incidence of a wide range of cancers, but to justify inclusion here it would need robust referencing, preferably including on-line sources so that the wider community can be assured of their relevance and substance.  Velella  Velella Talk   14:42, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Human health effects -- copyviol?[edit]

This edit [1] is a cut&copy from the cited font, that is [2].

Please help. I am too novice in wiki and english to intervene. --Michelino12 (talk) 22:03, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Thanks - yes a verbatim copy and paste - too late for any warnings etc. but text now removed. It should not have been remained in any case as it was original research. Good call.  Velella  Velella Talk   22:17, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Nitrate Overview depicted in periodic table[edit]

My observation: I think this is a great way to present this information! I'd like to see this approach with a lot of other common compounds. (talk) 23:15, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

Shouldnt there be ammonium nitrate in the N box of the periodic table?

Where did the Romans get it?[edit]

I've heard that the Romans made glass from sand and nitrate. Where did the Romans get the nitrate and how much nitrate did they need?

Aren't nitrates the healthy thing in green leafy veg?[edit]

The #Human health effects section says nitrates are toxic to humans and causes lack of oxygen, but outside of Wikipedia I've read about a tonne of studies showing nitrate rich veg to be good for your arteries and for oxygen flow.

Outside of Wikipedia, nitrates help dilate blood vessels, lower blood pressure, increase oxygen flow to muscles, and increase athletic performance and some recommend eating high-nitrate veg six times a day to cure heart disease. But inside wikipedia, nitrates do the opposite, and they kill infants too.

Am I missing something? Or is this article missing something? Great floors (talk) 04:26, 2 January 2017 (UTC)