Nitrate ion (NO₃⁻)

Nitrate ion (NO₃⁻)

A compound ion, the main source of nitrogen for plants.



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Nitrate ion NO₃⁻


Molar mass: 62.0 g/mol

Molecular shape: triangle

Bond angle: 120°


The nitrate ion is a compound ion bound by covalent bonds. It carries one negative electrical charge. The pi bonds are delocalized within the ion. It forms salts with metal ions and the ammonium ion. Nitrates dissolve well in water. Nitrate in water is highly toxic for babies but indispensable for plants.

Occurrence and production

The nitrate ion is formed with the removal of a proton from nitric acid. Its naturally occurring minerals are sodium nitrate (known as Chile saltpeter or nitratine) and potassium nitrate (known as saltpeter or nitre). Excess nitrate concentration in natural waterways causes eutrophication.


Ammonium nitrate is commonly used in agriculture as a fertilizer; potassium nitrate is used in fireworks and as a food additive.

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Silver nitrate (AgNO₃)

One of the raw materials of traditional photography.

Nitric acid (HNO₃)

One of the oxoacids of nitrogen. A colorless compound with a pungent odor, a strong oxidant.

Nitrogen cycle

Atmospherical nitrogen is bound by bacteria and used by living organisms in the form of various compounds.

Ammonium ion (NH₄⁺)

A compound ion generated when a proton is added to an ammonia molecule.

Nitrogen monoxide (Nitric oxide) (NO)

A colorless, heavier-than-air gas, an intermediate in the production of nitric acid.

Nitrogen (N₂) (intermediate)

A colorless, odorless, non-reactive gas, it constitutes 78.1% of Earth´s atmosphere.

Nitrogen-dioxide (NO₂)

A reddish-brown toxic gas, very reactive due to its unpaired electron.

Nitrous acid (HNO₂)

One of the oxoacids of nitrogen. Colorless, moderate acid with a pungent odor, that exists only in aqueous solution.

Permanganate ion (MnO₄⁻)

Potassium permanganate is used as a disinfectant.

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