The primary use of ammonium sulfate is as a fertilizer for alkaline soils. In the soil the ammonium ion is released and forms a small amount of acid, lowering the pH balance of the soil, while contributing essential nitrogen for plant growth. The main disadvantage to the use of ammonium sulfate is its low nitrogen content relative to ammonium nitrate, which elevates transportation costs.
It is also used as an agricultural spray adjuvant for water-soluble insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. There, it functions to bind iron and calcium cations that are present in both well water and plant cells. It is particularly effective as an adjuvant for 2,4-D (amine), glyphosate, and glufosinate herbicides.
In the treatment of drinking water, ammonium sulfate is used in combination with chlorine to generate monochloramine for disinfection.
Ammonium sulfate is used on a small scale in the preparation of other ammonium salts, especially ammonium persulfate.
Ammonium sulfate is listed as an ingredient for many United States vaccines per the Center for Disease Control.
A saturated solution of ammonium sulfate in heavy water (D2O) is used as an external standard in sulfur NMR spectroscopy with shift value of 0 ppm.
Ammonium sulfate has also been used in flame retardant compositions acting much like diammonium phosphate. As a flame retardant, it increases the combustion temperature of the material, decreases maximum weight loss rates, and causes an increase in the production of residue or char. Its flame retardant efficacy can be enhanced by blending it with ammonium sulfamate. It has been used in aerial firefighting.
Ammonium sulfate has been used as a wood preservative, but due to its hygroscopic nature, this use has been largely discontinued because of associated problems with metal fastener corrosion, dimensional instability
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