A Greek word passed to Latin as ammoniăcum and then came to our language as ammonia or ammonia: both accents are accepted by the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE). Ammonia is a gas that is made up of three hydrogen atoms and one nitrogen atom, its chemical formula being NH3.
This gas, which can be dissolved in water, is colorless and characterized by its unpleasant and pungent aroma. It should be noted that the 35% dissolution of ammonia in water is also known as ammonia.
Ammonia is produced naturally by the action of bacteria in the soil or in decomposing animals and plants. Even in a reduced quantity, it is present in the atmosphere. It can also be obtained at an industrial level.
Among the different uses of ammonia –which is usually marketed in a liquid state– is the production of fertilizers, paper, plastic, cleaning articles, explosives and coolants. On the other hand, ammonia is used in the treatment of wood and textile fibers, as fuel and even in food products to prevent the emergence of microbes.
Although the toxicity of ammonia is low, if it appears in a very high concentration it can cause irritation to the skin and throat, as well as disorders of the eyes and respiratory tract.
If the necessary precautions are not taken when using ammonia, it is possible that its passage through the respiratory tract causes poisoning; Likewise, direct contact with the skin can cause adverse reactions, ranging from blue lips to severe burns, depending on how long the product remains in the body.
It should be noted that, as a product of amino acid metabolism, ammonia is present in the human body. The liver is responsible for transforming ammonia into urea through various reactions.
When the liver is not working properly, the presence of ammonia in the blood can grow to cause hyperammonemia. In this particular case, there is also talk of ammonia, a cation that is formed through the protonation of ammonia; it has a positive charge, its molecular weight is 18.04 and it is polyatomic.
In the field of chemistry, we understand by protonation the process that consists of combining a proton with an ion, a molecule or an atom to form a single resulting body. Many consider it the most important chemical reaction, since it is part of much of the fundamental processes. Molecules and ions that are capable of traversing protonation more than once are known as polybasics.
Taking up the disease called hyperammonemia, it is a problem that can seriously hinder the development of people, with special damages for newborn babies. Among the easiest symptoms of hyperammonemia to detect are vomiting, lethargy (abnormal drowsiness that occurs due to a disorder; in this case, it may last until it leads to seizures) and diarrhea.
To detect the presence of this disease, doctors carry out a serum determination of the aforementioned ammonia cation, ammonia. If this first evaluation is positive, then it becomes necessary to carry out tests to determine its etiology (the causes of the disease), and among them are the following: coagulation; liver function; computed axial tomography (CAT) of the abdomen; liver ultrasound.
If, after carrying out these tests, the doctors cannot find the etiology, then it is possible that the patient presents an abnormal metabolism from birth; To be sure of this condition it is necessary to determine glutamine, citrulline and arginosuccinic acid in urine and serum.