Nitrate in maternal drinking water may impair fetal growth

Women whose household drinking water contained nitrate had babies that weighed, on average, 10 grams less than babies born to mothers where household water had no detectible nitrate, according to a new study from researchers ...

Medical research

Stopping tooth decay before it starts—without killing bacteria

Oral bacteria are ready to spring into action the moment a dental hygienist finishes scraping plaque off a patient's teeth. Eating sugar or other carbohydrates causes the bacteria to quickly rebuild this tough and sticky ...


Trial questions benefits of organic nitrates for bone health

Several clinical trials have reported beneficial effects of organic nitrates on bone health, which could lead to a reduced risk of fractures. Some of these trials have been retracted because of scientific misconduct; however. ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Green leafy vegetables may prevent liver steatosis

A larger portion of green leafy vegetables in the diet may reduce the risk of developing liver steatosis, or fatty liver. In a study published in PNAS researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden show how a larger intake ...


Is all well with your drinking water?

(HealthDay)—More than 15 million homes in the United States get their water from private wells, according to federal estimates.

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The nitrate ion is a polyatomic ion with the molecular formula NO− 3 and a molecular mass of 62.0049 g/mol. It is the conjugate base of nitric acid, consisting of one central nitrogen atom surrounded by three identically-bonded oxygen atoms in a trigonal planar arrangement. The nitrate ion carries a formal charge of -1. This results from a combination formal charge in which each of the three oxygens carries a −2⁄3 charge, whereas the nitrogen carries a +1 charge, all these adding up to formal charge of the polyatomic nitrate ion.

This arrangement is commonly used as an example of resonance. Like the isoelectronic carbonate ion, the nitrate ion can be represented by resonance structures:

Almost all inorganic nitrate salts are soluble in water at standard temperature and pressure. A common example of an inorganic nitrate salt is potassium nitrate (saltpetre).

In organic chemistry a nitrate (not to be confused with nitro) is a functional group with general chemical formula RONO2 where R stands for any organic residue. They are the esters of nitric acid and alcohols formed by nitroxylation. Examples are methyl nitrate formed by reaction of methanol and nitric acid, the nitrate of tartaric acid, and the inaccurately-named nitroglycerin (which is actually an organic nitrate compound, not a nitro compound).

Like organic nitro compounds (see below) both organic and inorganic nitrates can be used as propellants and explosives. An example of the use of inorganic nitrate was classical gunpowder. In all these uses the thermal decomposition of the nitrate yields molecular nitrogen N2 gas plus considerable chemical energy, due to the high strength of the bond in molecular nitrogen. Especially in inorganic nitrate reactions, oxidation from the nitrate oxygens is also an important energy-releasing process.

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