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Urea is a colorless crystalline organic compound with chemical formula CO(NH2)2. It is the main nitrogenous breakdown product of protein metabolism in mammals and is excreted in urine. Urea can be produced as prills, granules, pellets, crystals, and solutions.
Urea is used to treat dry/rough skin conditions (e.g., eczema, psoriasis, corns, callus) and some nail problems (e.g., ingrown nails). It may also be used to help remove dead tissue in some wounds to help wound healing. Urea is known as a keratolytic.
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- How Urea Is Produced: Synthetic urea is created from synthetic ammonia and carbon dioxide and can be produced as a liquid or a solid. Urea is naturally produced when the liver breaks down protein or amino acids, and ammonia. The kidneys then transfer the urea from the blood to the urine.
- Urea Structure: Urea is also known as carbamide because of the groups it contains. A carbonyl group is a carbon atom that is double bonded to an oxygen atom. The amide group in urea contains nitrogen attached to two hydrogen atoms. So, you put two amide groups with a carbonyl group and you have urea!
- Urea Uses: Urea is used to treat dry/rough skin conditions (e.g., eczema, psoriasis, corns, callus) and some nail problems (e.g., ingrown nails). It may also be used to help remove dead tissue in some wounds to help wound healing. Urea is known as a keratolytic.
- Urea Formula: CH₄N₂O
- Urea In Urine: Ammonia contains nitrogen, which mixes with other elements in your body, including carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, to form urea. Urea is a waste product that is excreted by the kidneys when you urinate. The urine urea nitrogen test determines how much urea is in the urine to assess the amount of protein breakdown.
- Urea pH: 10 | Urea can be protonated and deprotonated depending on the pH of the medium. At pH 10, the urea is not protonated, which causes a gradual release of urea into the medium. Also, the pH exerts an effect on the molecular conformation of the wheat proteins in aqueous medium.
- Urea Boiling Point: 165.1±23.0 °C at 760 mmHg
- Urea Melting Point: 271.4°F
- Urea Density: 1.32 g/cm³
- Urea Average Mass: 60.055 Da
- Urea Molar Volume: 38.4±7.0 cm 3
- Urea CAS Registry Number: 57-13-6
- Urea ChemSpider ID: 1143
- Urea PubChem CID: 1176
- Other Names For Urea: Carbamide, Carbonyldiamide, Carbonyldiamine, Isourea, Diaminomethanal, Diaminomethanone, Carbonyl diamide, carbonyl diamine, Harnstoff
How Is Urea Used?
- Urea Is Used For Skin
- Urea Nitrogen Fertilizer
- Urea Is Used For Hyponatremia
- Urea Is Used For Eczema
- Urea Is Used For Psoriasis
- Urea Is Used For Nail Fungus
- Urea Is Used For KP (Keratosis Pilaris)
- Urea Is Used For Toenails
- Neutralizing Acid In Aqua Regia
Urea, also known as carbamide-containing cream, is used as a medication and applied to the skin to treat dryness and itching such as may occur in psoriasis, dermatitis, or ichthyosis. It may also be used to soften nails. In adults side effects are generally few. It may occasionally cause skin irritation.
Urea at lower concentrations—between 2% and 10%—is available over the counter and acts as a skin moisturizer for people with dry skin, psoriasis, and eczema (atopic dermatitis). The most common concentration in this range is urea 10 cream.
Urea is the most commonly used keratolytic agent, and is effective in reducing the scales of psoriatic plaques. Bare Urea Gel containing Salicylic acid is a great topical keratolytic emollient. It makes the stratum corneum more supple and reduce superficial scales.
Urea is an effective treatment for SIADH-related hyponatremia in patients with SAH. It is generally well-tolerated and can help to avoid fluid restriction. Dose titration and plasma sodium response rate should be further studied prospectively.
Urea is particularly helpful in treating thick, dystrophic fungal (onychomycosis) nails. Due to urea's keratolytic effects, physicians have used it in the treatment of onychomycosis. Urea functions to soften the nail plate, which can enhance the passage of antifungal medications to the underlying nail bed.
Although there is no known cure for Keratosis Pilaris, an appropriate skincare routine and regular moisturizing with a Urea-rich product such as Eucerin UreaRepair PLUS 10% Urea Lotion will help alleviate symptoms and smooth skin.
Information On Urea From Wikipedia
Urea, also known as carbamide, is an organic compound with chemical formula CO(NH2)2. This amide has two –NH2 groups joined by a carbonyl (C=O) functional group.
Urea serves an important role in the metabolism of nitrogen-containing compounds by animals and is the main nitrogen-containing substance in the urine of mammals. It is a colorless, odorless solid, highly soluble in water, and practically non-toxic (LD50 is 15 g/kg for rats). Dissolved in water, it is neither acidic nor alkaline. The body uses it in many processes, most notably nitrogen excretion. The liver forms it by combining two ammonia molecules (NH3) with a carbon dioxide (CO2) molecule in the urea cycle. Urea is widely used in fertilizers as a source of nitrogen (N) and is an important raw material for the chemical industry.
Friedrich Wöhler's discovery, in 1828, that urea can be produced from inorganic starting materials, was an important conceptual milestone in chemistry. It showed, for the first time, that a substance, previously known only as a byproduct of life, could be synthesized in the laboratory, without biological starting materials, thereby contradicting the widely held doctrine vitalism, which stated that only living things could produce the chemicals of life.
More than 90% of world industrial production of urea is destined for use as a nitrogen-release fertilizer. Urea has the highest nitrogen content of all solid nitrogenous fertilizers in common use. Therefore, it has the lowest transportation costs per unit of nitrogen nutrient. Many soil bacteria possess the enzyme urease, which catalyzes conversion of urea to ammonia (NH3) or ammonium ion (NH4+) and bicarbonate ion (HCO3−). Thus urea fertilizers rapidly transform to the ammonium form in soils. Among the soil bacteria known to carry urease, some ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), such as species of Nitrosomonas, can also assimilate the carbon dioxide the reaction releases to make biomass via the Calvin cycle, and harvest energy by oxidizing ammonia (the other product of urease) to nitrite, a process termed nitrification. Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria, especially Nitrobacter, oxidize nitrite to nitrate, which is extremely mobile in soils because of its negative charge and is a major cause of water pollution from agriculture. Ammonium and nitrate are readily absorbed by plants, and are the dominant sources of nitrogen for plant growth. Urea is also used in many multi-component solid fertilizer formulations. Urea is highly soluble in water and is therefore also very suitable for use in fertilizer solutions (in combination with ammonium nitrate: UAN), e.g., in 'foliar feed' fertilizers. For fertilizer use, granules are preferred over prills because of their narrower particle size distribution, which is an advantage for mechanical application. The most common impurity of synthetic urea is biuret, which impairs plant growth. Urea is usually spread at rates of between 40 and 300 kg/ha (35 to 270 lbs/acre) but rates vary. Smaller applications incur lower losses due to leaching. During summer, urea is often spread just before or during rain to minimize losses from volatilization (a process wherein nitrogen is lost to the atmosphere as ammonia gas). Because of the high nitrogen concentration in urea, it is very important to achieve an even spread. The application equipment must be correctly calibrated and properly used. Drilling must not occur on contact with or close to seed, due to the risk of germination damage. Urea dissolves in water for application as a spray or through irrigation systems. In grain and cotton crops, urea is often applied at the time of the last cultivation before planting. In high rainfall areas and on sandy soils (where nitrogen can be lost through leaching) and where good in-season rainfall is expected, urea can be side- or top-dressed during the growing season. Top-dressing is also popular on pasture and forage crops. In cultivating sugarcane, urea is side-dressed after planting, and applied to each ratoon crop. Urea absorbs moisture from the atmosphere and therefore is typically stored either in closed or sealed bags on pallets or, if stored in bulk, under cover with a tarpaulin. As with most solid fertilizers, storage in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area is recommended. Overdose or placing urea near seed is harmful.
Urea is a raw material for the manufacture of two main classes of materials: urea-formaldehyde resins and urea-melamine-formaldehyde used in marine plywood.
Urea can be used to make urea nitrate, a high explosive that is used industrially and as part of some improvised explosive devices. It is a stabilizer in nitrocellulose explosives.
Urea in concentrations up to 10 M is a powerful protein denaturant as it disrupts the noncovalent bonds in the proteins. This property can be exploited to increase the solubility of some proteins. A mixture of urea and choline chloride is used as a deep eutectic solvent (DES), a substance similar to ionic liquid. When used in a deep eutectic solvent, urea does not denature the proteins that are solubilized. Urea can in principle serve as a hydrogen source for subsequent power generation in fuel cells. Urea present in urine/wastewater can be used directly (though bacteria normally quickly degrade urea.) Producing hydrogen by electrolysis of urea solution occurs at a lower voltage (0.37 V) and thus consumes less energy than the electrolysis of water (1.2 V). Urea in concentrations up to 8 M can be used to make fixed brain tissue transparent to visible light while still preserving fluorescent signals from labeled cells. This allows for much deeper imaging of neuronal processes than previously obtainable using conventional one photon or two photon confocal microscopes.
Urea-containing creams are used as topical dermatological products to promote rehydration of the skin. Urea 40% is indicated for psoriasis, xerosis, onychomycosis, ichthyosis, eczema, keratosis, keratoderma, corns, and calluses. If covered by an occlusive dressing, 40% urea preparations may also be used for nonsurgical debridement of nails. Urea 40% "dissolves the intercellular matrix" of the nail plate. Only diseased or dystrophic nails are removed, as there is no effect on healthy portions of the nail. This drug is also used as an earwax removal aid. Urea has also been studied as a diuretic. It was first used by Dr. W. Friedrich in 1892. In a 2010 study of ICU patients, urea was used to treat euvolemic hyponatremia and was found safe, inexpensive, and simple. Like saline, urea injection has previously been used to perform abortion. The blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test is a measure of the amount of nitrogen in the blood that comes from urea. It is used as a marker of renal function, though it is inferior to other markers such as creatinine because blood urea levels are influenced by other factors such as diet and dehydration. For this reason, urea is analyzed in patients undergoing dialysis as the adequacy of the treatment can be assessed by the dimensionless parameter Kt/V , which can be calculated from the concentration of urea in the blood. Urea has also been studied as an excipient in Drug-coated Balloon (DCB) coating formulation to enhance local drug delivery to stenotic blood vessels. Urea, when used as an excipient in small doses (~3μg/mm2) to coat DCB surface was found to form crystals that increase drug transfer without adverse toxic effects on vascular endothelial cells. Urea labeled with carbon-14 or carbon-13 is used in the urea breath test, which is used to detect the presence of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) in the stomach and duodenum of humans, associated with peptic ulcers. The test detects the characteristic enzyme urease, produced by H. pylori, by a reaction that produces ammonia from urea. This increases the pH (reduces the acidity) of the stomach environment around the bacteria. Similar bacteria species to H. pylori can be identified by the same test in animals such as apes, dogs, and cats (including big cats).
- An ingredient in diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), which is 32.5% urea and 67.5% de-ionized water. DEF is sprayed into the exhaust stream of diesel vehicles to break down dangerous NOx emissions into harmless nitrogen and water.
- A component of animal feed, providing a relatively cheap source of nitrogen to promote growth
- A non-corroding alternative to rock salt for road de-icing. It is often the main ingredient of pet friendly salt substitutes although it is less effective than traditional rock salt or calcium chloride.
- A main ingredient in hair removers such as Nair and Veet
- A browning agent in factory-produced pretzels
- An ingredient in some skin cream, moisturizers, hair conditioners, and shampoos
- A cloud seeding agent, along with other salts
- A flame-proofing agent, commonly used in dry chemical fire extinguisher charges such as the urea-potassium bicarbonate mixture
- An ingredient in many tooth whitening products
- An ingredient in dish soap
- Along with diammonium phosphate, as a yeast nutrient, for fermentation of sugars into ethanol
- A nutrient used by plankton in ocean nourishment experiments for geoengineering purposes
- As an additive to extend the working temperature and open time of hide glue
- As a solubility-enhancing and moisture-retaining additive to dye baths for textile dyeing or printing
- As an optical parametric oscillator in nonlinear optics
Urea is used in SNCR and SCR reactions to reduce the NOx pollutants in exhaust gases from combustion from Diesel, dual fuel, and lean-burn natural gas engines. The BlueTec system, for example, injects a water-based urea solution into the exhaust system. The ammonia produced by the hydrolysis of the urea reacts with the nitrogen oxide emissions and is converted into nitrogen and water within the catalytic converter. Trucks and cars using these catalytic converters need to carry a supply of diesel exhaust fluid, a solution of urea in water.
Amino acids from ingested food that are used for the synthesis of proteins and other biological substances — or produced from catabolism of muscle protein — are oxidized by the body as an alternative source of energy, yielding urea and carbon dioxide. The oxidation pathway starts with the removal of the amino group by a transaminase; the amino group is then fed into the urea cycle. The first step in the conversion of amino acids from protein into metabolic waste in the liver is removal of the alpha-amino nitrogen, which results in ammonia. Because ammonia is toxic, it is excreted immediately by fish, converted into uric acid by birds, and converted into urea by mammals. Ammonia (NH3) is a common byproduct of the metabolism of nitrogenous compounds. Ammonia is smaller, more volatile and more mobile than urea. If allowed to accumulate, ammonia would raise the pH in cells to toxic levels. Therefore, many organisms convert ammonia to urea, even though this synthesis has a net energy cost. Being practically neutral and highly soluble in water, urea is a safe vehicle for the body to transport and excrete excess nitrogen. Urea is synthesized in the body of many organisms as part of the urea cycle, either from the oxidation of amino acids or from ammonia. In this cycle, amino groups donated by ammonia and L-aspartate are converted to urea, while L-ornithine, citrulline, L-argininosuccinate, and L-arginine act as intermediates. Urea production occurs in the liver and is regulated by N-acetylglutamate. Urea is then dissolved into the blood (in the reference range of 2.5 to 6.7 mmol/liter) and further transported and excreted by the kidney as a component of urine. In addition, a small amount of urea is excreted (along with sodium chloride and water) in sweat. In water, the amine groups undergo slow displacement by water molecules, producing ammonia, ammonium ion, and bicarbonate ion. For this reason, old, stale urine has a stronger odor than fresh urine.
Urea can be irritating to skin, eyes, and the respiratory tract. Repeated or prolonged contact with urea in fertilizer form on the skin may cause dermatitis. High concentrations in the blood can be damaging. Ingestion of low concentrations of urea, such as are found in typical human urine, are not dangerous with additional water ingestion within a reasonable time-frame. Many animals (e.g., dogs) have a much more concentrated urine and it contains a higher urea amount than normal human urine; this can prove dangerous as a source of liquids for consumption in a life-threatening situation (such as in a desert). Urea can cause algal blooms to produce toxins, and its presence in the runoff from fertilized land may play a role in the increase of toxic blooms. The substance decomposes on heating above melting point, producing toxic gases, and reacts violently with strong oxidants, nitrites, inorganic chlorides, chlorites and perchlorates, causing fire and explosion.
The cycling of and excretion of urea by the kidneys is a vital part of mammalian metabolism. Besides its role as carrier of waste nitrogen, urea also plays a role in the countercurrent exchange system of the nephrons, that allows for re-absorption of water and critical ions from the excreted urine. Urea is reabsorbed in the inner medullary collecting ducts of the nephrons, thus raising the osmolarity in the medullary interstitium surrounding the thin descending limb of the loop of Henle, which makes the water reabsorb. By action of the urea transporter 2, some of this reabsorbed urea eventually flows back into the thin descending limb of the tubule, through the collecting ducts, and into the excreted urine. The body uses this mechanism, which is controlled by the antidiuretic hormone, to create hyperosmotic urine—i.e., urine with a higher concentration of dissolved substances than the blood plasma. This mechanism is important to prevent the loss of water, maintain blood pressure, and maintain a suitable concentration of sodium ions in the blood plasma. The equivalent nitrogen content (in gram) of urea (in mmol) can be estimated by the conversion factor 0.028 g/mmol. Furthermore, 1 gram of nitrogen is roughly equivalent to 6.25 grams of protein, and 1 gram of protein is roughly equivalent to 5 grams of muscle tissue. In situations such as muscle wasting, 1 mmol of excessive urea in the urine (as measured by urine volume in liters multiplied by urea concentration in mmol/l) roughly corresponds to a muscle loss of 0.67 gram.
In aquatic organisms the most common form of nitrogen waste is ammonia, whereas land-dwelling organisms convert the toxic ammonia to either urea or uric acid. Urea is found in the urine of mammals and amphibians, as well as some fish. Birds and saurian reptiles have a different form of nitrogen metabolism that requires less water, and leads to nitrogen excretion in the form of uric acid. Tadpoles excrete ammonia but shift to urea production during metamorphosis. Despite the generalization above, the urea pathway has been documented not only in mammals and amphibians but in many other organisms as well, including birds, invertebrates, insects, plants, yeast, fungi, and even microorganisms.
For its main use as a fertilizer urea is mostly marketed in solid form, either as prills or granules. The advantage of prills is that, in general, they can be produced more cheaply than granules and that the technique was firmly established in industrial practice long before a satisfactory urea granulation process was commercialized. However, on account of the limited size of particles that can be produced with the desired degree of sphericity and their low crushing and impact strength, the performance of prills during bulk storage, handling and use is generally (with some exceptions) considered inferior to that of granules.
High-quality compound fertilizers containing nitrogen co-granulated with other components such as phosphates have been produced routinely since the beginnings of the modern fertilizer industry, but on account of the low melting point and hygroscopic nature of urea it took courage to apply the same kind of technology to granulate urea on its own. But at the end of the 1970s three companies began to develop fluidized-bed granulation. The first in the field was Nederlandse Stikstof Maatschappij, which later became part of Hydro Agri (now Yara International). Yara eventually sold this technology to Uhde GmbH, whose Uhde Fertilizer Technology subsidiary now markets it. Around the same time Toyo Engineering Corporation developed its spouted-bed process, comprising a fluidized bed deliberately agitated to produce turbulent ebullation. Stamicarbon also undertook development work on its own fluidized-bed granulation system, using film sprays rather than atomizing sprays to introduce the urea melt, but shelved it until the 1990s, when there was for a time considerable doubt about the commercial future of the Hydro (Uhde) process. As a result, the Stamicarbon technology is now commercialized and highly successful. More recently, Urea Casale introduced a different fluidized-bed granulation system: the urea is sprayed in laterally from the side walls of the granulator instead of from the bottom. This organizes the bed into two cylindrical masses contrarotating on parallel longitudinal axes. The raw product is uniform enough not to require screens. Surprisingly, perhaps, considering the product particles are not spherical, pastillation using a Rotoform steel-belt pastillator is gaining ground as a urea particle-forming process as a result of development work by Stamicarbon in collaboration with Sandvik Process Systems (Germany). Single-machine capacity is limited to 175 t/d, but the machines are simple and need little maintenance, specific power consumption is much lower than for granulation, and the product is very uniform. The robustness of the product appears to make up for its non-spherical shape.
In admixture, the combined solubility of ammonium nitrate and urea is so much higher than that of either component alone that it is possible to obtain a stable solution (known as UAN) with a total nitrogen content (32%) approaching that of solid ammonium nitrate (33.5%), though not, of course, that of urea itself (46%). Given the ongoing safety and security concerns surrounding fertilizer-grade solid ammonium nitrate, UAN provides a considerably safer alternative without entirely sacrificing the agronomic properties that make ammonium nitrate more attractive than urea as a fertilizer in areas with short growing seasons. It is also more convenient to store and handle than a solid product and easier to apply accurately to the land by mechanical means.
The chemical has been verified to be of low concern based on experimental and modeled data. Urea is not considered a hazardous waste under Federal Hazardous Waste Regulations 40 CFR 261.
- Eye: May cause eye irritation. Causes redness and pain
- Skin: May cause skin irritation
- Ingestion: Causes gastrointestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Inhalation: May cause respiratory tract irritation
- Chronic: Prolonged or repeated exposure may cause adverse reproductive effects
Urea is a nitrogenous compound containing a carbonyl group attached to two amine groups with osmotic diuretic activity. In vivo, urea is formed in the liver via the urea cycle from ammonia and is the final end product of protein metabolism. Administration of urea elevates blood plasma osmolality, resulting in enhanced flow of water from tissues, including the brain, cerebrospinal fluid and eye, into interstitial fluid and plasma, thereby decreasing pressure in those tissues and increasing urine outflow. Urea is a highly soluble organic compound formed in the liver from ammonia produced by the deamination of amino acids. It is the principal end product of protein catabolism and constitutes about one half of the total urinary solids. Urea is formed in a cyclic pathway known simply as the urea cycle. In this cycle, amino groups donated by ammonia and L-aspartate are converted to urea. Urea is essentially a waste product; it has no physiological function. It is dissolved in blood (in humans in a concentration of 2. 5 - 7. 5 mmol/liter) and excreted by the kidney in the urine. In addition, a small amount of urea is excreted (along with sodium chloride and water) in human sweat. Urea is found to be associated with primary hypomagnesemia, which is an inborn error of metabolism. Urea appears as solid odorless white crystals or pellets. Density 1.335 g /cc. Noncombustible.