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What is sodium nitrate?

Definition of Sodium Nitrate

The chemical compound sodium nitrate (NaNO3) is colorless and odorless, and it is soluble in water, alcohol, and liquid ammonia. The compound's crystals have a similar look and chemical qualities to potassium nitrate or solid salt, and it's also known as soda nitrate or Chile gunpowder salt.

What is sodium nitrate
What is sodium nitrate?

Uses of sodium nitrate

The following are some of the applications for sodium nitrate:

Sodium in processed meat preservation

Nitrate is added to processed meats like sausages to preserve them and prevent bacteria from growing and spoiling them. It also helps to keep the color of red or pink meat.


Fertilizers containing sodium nitrate are essential because they provide nitrogen, which is essential for plant growth.

Industry of Glass

Production of scratch-resistant toughened glass for use in combat aircraft that require tough, shatter-resistant glass, as well as high-quality eyeglass lenses.

Industry of pharmaceuticals

Sodium nitrate is a preservative found in eye drops and medicines designed to protect against heart attack damage. According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Health in 2005, it is superior to nitrite in this regard because it does not cause blood vessel expansion.

industry of explosives

One of the advantages of sodium nitrate is that it is non-toxic and inexpensive, which is why it is employed in the construction of missiles and explosives.

Sodium nitrate sources and their effects on human health

Although sodium nitrate is used as a preservative in the meat industry, such as sausages and other processed meats, significant levels of sodium nitrate in the human body put the body at risk for a variety of ailments.

Some vegetables naturally contain sodium nitrate due to its presence in the soil as a key fertilizer for plant growth. These vegetables include spinach, radish, lettuce, celery, carrots, cabbage, and beetroot; but, unlike the nitrates used to preserve processed meat, they do not represent a health risk to humans. This is because they include vitamins C and D, which protect the body from disease.


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