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Nitrate in Groundwater

  1. Thomas Addiscott

Published Online: 15 APR 2003

DOI: 10.1002/047126363X.agr174

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

How to Cite

Addiscott, T. 2003. Nitrate in Groundwater. Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals. .

Author Information

  1. Rothamsted Experimental Station, Herts, Harpenden, United Kingdom

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2003


The nitrate ion is one of the ubiquitous chemical substances on the planet and is nearly always found in water. Most of the water around us contains nitrate, but the water with which we are concerned here is groundwater, which is water accumulated in the saturated zones of certain rock formations, usually at depth. Most of this water has passed through the soil before it accumulates, so that activities at the soil surface, particularly agriculture, can have a strong influence on the concentrations of nitrate and other agrochemicals in groundwater. Despite its commonplace nature, nitrate has for at least two decades been a source of widespread concern because of its perceived effects on our environment and our health.


  • nitrate;
  • biological nitrate production;
  • adventitious nitrate production;
  • dentrification;
  • fertilizer nitrogen;
  • stomach cancer;
  • gastroenteritis;
  • methemoglobinemia;
  • diabetes