What is the relationship between ammonia (NH3) and other nitrogen containing compounds?

Document ID

Document ID TE157

Published Date

Published Date 06/13/2019
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Question
What is the relationship between ammonia (NH3) and other nitrogen containing compounds?
Summary
Relationship between nitrogen containing compounds
Answer
Nitrogen exists in the environment in many forms and changes forms as it moves through the nitrogen cycle. A variety of nitrogen methods can be used to test the different forms of nitrogen.

Provided below is a summary of the relationship between different nitrogen compounds and the nitrogen method recommended for analysis.

(TIN) = (NH3) + (NO3) + (NO2)
(TN) = Organic Nitrogen (all) + NH3 + NO3 + NO2
(TKN) = Organic Nitrogen (trinegative oxidative*) + NH3

*Trinegative oxidative: Will not account for azide, azine, azo, hydrazone, nitrile, nitro, nitroso, oxime, and semi-carbazone

Comparing TKN results
TKN = (approx) TN - (NO3 + NO2)
TKN = (approx) NH3 + Organic Nitrogen

Organic Nitrogen:
TKN - NH3 = Organic Nitrogen
TN-TIN = Organic Nitrogen

Acryonym Legend:
Total Inorganic Nitrogen (TIN)
Ammonia (NH3)
Ammonium (NH4)
Nitrate (NO3)
Nitrite (NO2)
Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN)
Total Nitrogen (TN)

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