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  • Ammonia is a compound with the formula NH3. It is normally encountered as a gas with a characteristic pungent odor. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to foodstuffs and fertilizers.
  • Ammonia, either directly or indirectly, also is a building block for the synthesis of many pharmaceuticals. Although in wide use, ammonia is both caustic and hazardous.
  • Ammonia, as used commercially, is often called anhydrous ammonia. This term emphasizes the absence of water in the material.
  • "Household ammonia" or "ammonium hydroxide" is a solution of NH3 in water. The strength of such solutions is measured in units of baume , with 26 degrees baume. Household ammonia ranges in concentration from 5 to 10 weight percent ammonia.


  • In certain organisms, ammonia is produced from atmospheric N2 by enzymes called nitrogenases. The overall process is called nitrogen fixation.
  • Ammonia is also a metabolic product of amino acid deamination. Ammonia excretion is common in aquatic animals. In humans, it is quickly converted to urea, which is much less toxic.
  • In the anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) process, ammonia is oxidized with nitrite as primary electron acceptor under strictly anoxic conditions.
  • Ammonia is found in small quantities in the atmosphere, being produced from the putrefaction of nitrogenous animal and vegetable matter.


  • Ammonia's thermodynamic properties made it one of the refrigerants commonly used prior to the discovery of dichlorodifluoromethane.
  • Liquid ammonia was used as the fuel of the rocket airplane, the X-15.
  • Solutions of ammonia in water can be applied on the skin to lessen the effects of acidic animal poisons, especially insect poison and jellyfish poison.
  • Ammonia used to scrub SO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, the resulting product is converted to ammonium sulfate for use as fertilizer.


  • The worldwide ammonia production in 2004 was 109 million metric tonnes.
  • The People's Republic of China produced 28.4% of the worldwide production followed by India with 8.6%, Russia with 8.4%, and the United States with 8.2%.
  • About 80% or more of the ammonia produced is used for fertilizing agricultural crops.Imports of ammonia and other nitrogen products into the US market surged temporarily and then fell back, although ammonia imports remain higher than before the gas spike.
  • Every ammonia producer in the US needs to develop strategies to deal with an uncertain future on energy costs, end-product prices and a changing international market structure.


  • Ammonia is an important source of nitrogen for living systems.
  • Ammonium ions are a toxic waste product of the metabolism in animals. In fishes and aquatic invertebrates, it is excreted directly into the water.
  • In mammals, sharks, and amphibians, it is converted in the urea cycle to urea, because it is less toxic and can be stored more efficiently.
  • In birds, reptiles, and terrestrial snails, metabolic ammonium is converted into uric acid, which is solid, and can therefore be excreted with minimal water loss.

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