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salts of nitric acid, HNO3. Colorless crystalline compounds that are stable at ordinary temperatures; at high temperatures they release oxygen readily and are strong oxidizing agents (for example, 2KNO3 = 2KNO2 + O2). All nitrates are highly soluble in water.

Nitrates are produced by the action of nitric acid on metals, metal oxides, and certain salts in neutral or slightly acidic solutions by exchange reactions or by the action of NO2 on bases (nitrites are also produced by the latter reaction). The nitrates of a number of elements (sodium, potassium, and calcium) occur naturally. Of these, only deposits of sodium nitrate (Chile saltpeter) are of practical importance.

Nitrates are widely used as fertilizers (sodium, potassium, ammonium, and calcium salts), in the production of explosives (ammonium and barium salts), and as mordants in dyeing (chromium, iron, aluminum, and copper salts). Ammonium nitrates and the nitrates of the alkali and alkaline-earth metals are also called saltpeters.

References in periodicals archive ?
Nitrates are so common that they're naturally found in soil, water, and air.
Of the 69 subjects recruited into the study, full data sets were available from 65 participants (33 from the nitrate group and 32 from placebo group).
Nitrates themselves are not the problem; there is cause for concern only when they are converted by the body to nitrosamines.
9] WHO, Nitrates, Nitrites and N-Nitroso Compounds, Environmental Health Criteria, 5, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 1978.
The model results also suggested that cover cropping is more effective in reducing nitrate losses in subsurface drainage in the southern part of the region.
Accumulation of Nitrates in Leafy Vegetables (Spinach)
According to the report, which covers the period from 2008 to 2011, the percentage of polluted waters caused by nitrates is still too high in some member states and in certain regions.
Nitrates are natural constituents of vegetables and can be found in very high concentrations.
Of the 5,176 people served water with nitrates above the MCL, 56% were people of color (50% Latinos and 6% non-Latino), compared with 52% in the low and medium nitrate categories (Table 2).
However, the researchers aren't recommending anyone begin taking inorganic nitrate supplements based on the new findings.
TABLE 1 Nitrates and Nitrites in Water Samples from Industrialized Area Location of Sampling Point Nitrate (mg/L) Nitrite (mg/L) Ekpan River 1.