Nitrates (NO3-) are one of nitrogen forms. Useful for plant growth, they are of natural or non-natural origin (mineral nitrogen fertilisers).
Nitrate is a compound combining the nitrate ion (NO3-) with one or more cations. It is found in salt form (sodium nitrate, potassium nitrate, etc.) or ester form (ethyl nitrate, amyl nitrate, cellulose nitrate, etc.).
All nitrogen sources are potential sources of nitrate. It is used in inorganic fertilisers and explosives, and also as a food preservative or raw chemical in various industrial processes.
Nitrate is a major nutrient for plant growth. However, the presence of too many nitrates in water can lead to ecological imbalances, resulting in eutrophication.