Nitrate (NO3-) is an inorganic nitrogen compound. It is formed as a product of complete nitrification: NH4+ + 2O2 -> NO3- + H2 + 2H+ + energy. The nitrite produced in the first part of the nitrification is further oxidized by means of autotrophic microorganisms (Nitrobacter) to the end product (nitrate): NO2- + 0.5 O2 -> NO3-.
Denitrification converts nitrate to gaseous, elemental nitrogen and thus eliminates it from the wastewater.
In excess, the nitrate in water leads to over-fertilization and eutrophication.

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