[NAFEX] Ammonium vs. Nitrate
garden at leereich.com
Wed Jan 17 08:39:13 EST 2007
"Ammonium" could refer to either ammonium nitrate or anhydrous
ammonia. Anhydrous ammonia combines with water and other things in
the soil to become ammonium ion. Ammonium is an positively charged
ion that combines with negatively charged ions, such as nitrate or
hydroxide ions. Anhydrous ammonia is a gas without charge.
Lee Reich, PhD
garden at leereich.com
Books by Lee Reich:
The Pruning Book
Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden
On Jan 16, 2007, at 10:14 PM, road's end farm wrote:
> On Jan 16, 2007, at 6:41 PM, <reveland at bresnan.net> wrote:
>> The article referenced said that ammonium makes tomatoes taste
>> better than
>> ammonium nitrate makes them taste when the choice of fertilizers
>> is either
>> A: Ammonium or B: Ammonium Nitrate. Now I am looking to buy some
>> Ammonium as
>> referenced in the article.
> You might do better to get some organic fertilizer. The article
> actually seems to say that this produced a better combination of
> flavor and nutrients than either of the ammonium/ammonium nitrate
> treatments. I quote from the article:
> [quote] They also included treatments that got nutrients from
> organic sources such as bone meal, yeast and chicken manure or
> grass and clover clippings. These were placed on the sand around
> the plants and nutrients were washed down to the roots with
> irrigation water. All treatments were designed to supply similar
> quantities of plant-available nutrients, and indeed, nutrient
> concentrations in the plants were tested and found to be similar.
> Yield was also similar for ammonium and nitrate treatments, but a
> bit lower for the organic nutrient treatments. No differences in
> size or appearance of the tomatoes were found. However, consumers
> rated sweetness, flavour intensity and duration as well as overall
> acceptance, significantly higher for all treatments compared to
> standard nitrate-fed tomatoes. Even the Vitamin C content was
> higher. However, proving there is no such thing as a free lunch,
> lycopene and total antioxidant activity was lower in the ammonium
> fed tomatoes than the nitrate and organic nitrogen fed tomatoes.
> [end quote]
> I am also confused by what they mean by "ammonium" as opposed to
> "ammonium nitrate"; that is, I have some idea what "ammonium
> nitrate" is, and what "anhydrous ammonia" is, but what form do they
> mean by just "ammonium"? However I note that the researchers were
> in New Zealand; maybe this is a standard term there. I'm in the
> USA. The countries may in this case be "divided by a common language".
> Finger Lakes NY; zone 5
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