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Ammonium Sulfate vs. Urea: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Ammonium Sulfate is an inorganic salt used as a fertilizer, while Urea is an organic compound used in agriculture and industry.
Ammonium Sulfate vs. Urea

Key Differences

Ammonium Sulfate, a chemical compound with the formula (NH4)2SO4, is widely used as a soil fertilizer providing nitrogen and sulfur. Urea, on the other hand, is an organic compound with the formula CO(NH2)2, primarily used as a nitrogen-release fertilizer. Both are essential in agriculture but differ in composition and nitrogen content.
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Dec 18, 2023
In the agricultural context, Ammonium Sulfate is known for its quick-release of sulfur, benefiting crops in sulfur-deficient soils. Urea, recognized for its high nitrogen content, is preferred for its cost-effectiveness and ease of handling. Both fertilizers play crucial roles but cater to different nutrient requirements of plants.
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Ammonium Sulfate is less prone to volatilization compared to Urea, making it a more stable nitrogen source in certain conditions. Urea, however, is more concentrated in nitrogen, making it a more efficient choice in terms of transport and storage. Both serve distinct agronomic purposes.
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Environmentally, Ammonium Sulfate can contribute to soil acidification over time, requiring careful management. Urea, while having a lower acidifying effect, can lead to ammonia volatilization if not properly applied. Both have environmental implications that need consideration in agricultural practices.
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In terms of solubility, Ammonium Sulfate dissolves readily in water, making it suitable for various application methods. Urea boasts even greater solubility, which is advantageous for foliar sprays and irrigation systems. Both offer versatility in application but with different solubility characteristics.
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Comparison Chart

Chemical Formula

(NH4)2SO4
CO(NH2)2
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Nutrient Content

Nitrogen and Sulfur
Nitrogen
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Solubility

Highly soluble
More soluble than Ammonium Sulfate
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Usage

Fertilizer, industrial uses
Fertilizer, industrial, medical uses
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Environmental Impact

Soil acidification
Potential ammonia volatilization
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Ammonium Sulfate and Urea Definitions

Ammonium Sulfate

A laboratory reagent.
Ammonium sulfate was used in the precipitation of proteins.
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Dec 11, 2023

Urea

A de-icing agent.
Urea is used to melt ice on roads and walkways.
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Ammonium Sulfate

A compound in fire extinguishers.
Ammonium sulfate is effective in certain types of fire extinguishers.
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Urea

A component in animal feed.
Urea is added to cattle feed to boost protein intake.
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Ammonium Sulfate

A water treatment chemical.
They added ammonium sulfate to purify the water.
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Urea

A raw material in plastics.
Urea is a key component in some plastic manufacturing processes.
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Ammonium Sulfate

A food additive.
Ammonium sulfate is sometimes added to bread to regulate acidity.
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Dec 11, 2023

Urea

A nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
Urea is commonly used to enhance plant growth.
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Ammonium Sulfate

A salt used in fertilizers.
The farmer used ammonium sulfate to enrich his soil.
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Urea

A medical diagnostic agent.
Urea breath tests help diagnose stomach bacteria.
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Urea

A water-soluble compound, CO(NH2)2, that is the major nitrogenous end product of protein metabolism and is the chief nitrogenous component of the urine in mammals and certain other animals. Also called carbamide.
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Dec 10, 2023

Urea

A water-soluble organic compound, CO(NH2)2, formed by the metabolism of proteins and excreted in the urine.
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Urea

Any N-substituted derivative of urea, with the general formula (R1R2N)CO(NR3R4).
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Urea

A very soluble crystalline body which is the chief constituent of the urine in mammals and some other animals. It is also present in small quantity in blood, serous fluids, lymph, the liver, etc.
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Urea

The chief solid component of mammalian urine; synthesized from ammonia and carbon dioxide and used as fertilizer and in animal feed and in plastics
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is Ammonium Sulfate organic?

No, it is an inorganic salt.
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Is Urea an organic compound?

Yes, Urea is an organic compound.
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What is Urea mainly used for?

Urea is used as a fertilizer, in plastics, and in medical diagnostics.
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What is Ammonium Sulfate used for?

It's primarily used as a fertilizer and in certain industrial processes.
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Does Urea have medical uses?

Yes, it's used in medical diagnostics, such as in urea breath tests.
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What nutrients does Ammonium Sulfate provide to plants?

It provides nitrogen and sulfur.
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What is the primary nutrient in Urea?

Nitrogen.
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Can Ammonium Sulfate be used in fire extinguishers?

Yes, it's used in certain types of fire extinguishers.
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Can Ammonium Sulfate be used in food?

Yes, it's used as a food additive, especially in bread.
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Does Ammonium Sulfate affect soil pH?

Yes, it can contribute to soil acidification.
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How is Urea typically applied in agriculture?

It can be applied as granules or dissolved in water for irrigation.
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How is Urea produced?

It's synthesized from ammonia and carbon dioxide.
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Does Urea have a role in plastic manufacturing?

Yes, it's a raw material in certain plastics.
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What precautions should be taken when using Urea?

It should be applied correctly to avoid environmental harm, like ammonia release.
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Is Ammonium Sulfate soluble in water?

Yes, it dissolves readily in water.
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What industries use Ammonium Sulfate?

Agriculture, water treatment, and food industries.
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Can Ammonium Sulfate be used in water treatment?

Yes, it's used in some water purification processes.
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Are there any safety concerns with Ammonium Sulfate?

It's generally safe, but precautions are needed when handling large quantities.
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Is Urea harmful to the environment?

It can lead to ammonia volatilization if not applied correctly.
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Is Urea used in animal feed?

Yes, it's added to boost protein intake.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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