Ammonium Sulphate

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  • Ammonium sulfate (IUPAC-recommended spelling; also ammonium Sulphate in British English), (NH4)2SO4, is an inorganic salt with a number of commercial uses. The most common use is as a soil fertilizer. It contains 21% nitrogen as ammonium cations, and 24% sulfur as sulfate anions.

  • Ammonium sulfate is well known for the first order phase transition which occurs upon cooling through 224 K (at room pressure) from a para-electric crystal (space group Pnam, Z=4) to a ferro-electric crystal.

  • Ammonium sulfate is made by treating ammonia, often as a by-product from coke-ovens, with sulfuric acid-2 NH3 + H2SO4 = (NH4)2SO4.

  • Ammonium sulfate also is manufactured from gypsum (CaSO42H2O). Finely divided gypsum is added to an ammonium carbonate solution. Calcium carbonate precipitates as a solid, leaving ammonium sulfate in the solution-(NH4)2CO3 + CaSO4 =(NH4)2SO4 + CaCO3.

  • Ammonium sulfate occurs naturally as the rare mineral mascagnite in volcanic fumaroles and due to coal fires on some dumps.

  • Ammonium sulfate is a widely used reagent in molecular biology and chromatography. Applications include the precipitation and fractionation of proteins, purification of antibodies, crystallization of proteins, protein-nucleic acid complexes, and of nucleic acids. Ammonium sulfate is also widely used in HPLC of proteins, such as in hydrophobic interaction chromatography.

  • Ammonium sulfate is being considered as a fire-retardant chemical for cellulose insulation.It is also used for Sepharose chromatography of RNAs using reverse salt gradients.

  • The primary use of ammonium sulfate is as a fertilizer for alkaline soils. In the soil the ammonium ion is released and forms a small amount of acid, lowering the pH balance of the soil, while contributing essential nitrogen for plant growth.

  • It is also used as an agricultural spray adjuvant for water soluble insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
    A solution containing dissolved ammonium sulfate is often added to post-emergence herbicide sprays to improve their effectiveness at weed control. A high purity grade of ammonium sulfate is often used for this purpose to avoid plugging spray nozzles.

  • It is produced as a byproduct from the caprolactam oxidation process stream and the rearrangement reaction stream.

  • It is commonly added to bread products as a dough conditioner. It is also a component in fire extinguisher powder and flame-proofing agents. It is used for many applications in the chemical, wood pulp, textile and pharmaceutical industries.

  • Ammonium sulfate is also utilized in the purification of antibodies. The use of ammonium sulfate in long PCR buffer, in PCR lysis solution and in second-strand DNA synthesis.

  • A method for separating ammonium sulfate from an aqueous solution of ammonium bisulfate where the aqueous solution additionally contains organics from a synthesis reaction. Separation is effected by the addition of an alcohol, preferably methanol, to the aqueous solution in an amount sufficient to precipitate substantially all of the ammonium sulfate and thereafter removing said precipitate from the solution.

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