Silver nitrate

Silver nitrate is an inorganic compound with chemical formula AgNO3. 

This salt is a versatile precursor to many other silver compounds.

Chemical formula AgNO3

Reacts explosively with ethanol. 


Silver nitrate is the least expensive salt of silver.

It is non-hygroscopic.

It is relatively stable to light. 

It dissolves in numerous solvents, including water. 

It is used in analytical chemistry to confirm the presence of chloride, bromide, or iodide ions. 

It is used to determine if moisture on formerly dry cargo is a result of condensation from humid air, or from seawater leaking through the hull.

In histology, it is used for silver staining, for demonstrating reticular fibers, proteins and nucleic acids, in scanning electron microscopy.

Silver nitrate produces long-lasting stain when applied to skin. 

Silver salts have antiseptic properties, and the use of dilute solutions of AgNO3 in newborn babies’ eyes at birth to prevent contraction of gonorrhea from the mother (now antibiotics are now used).

It is used as a cauterizing agent, for example to remove granulation tissue around a stoma. 

It is used to cauterize superficial blood vessels in the nose to help prevent nose bleeds.

Dentists sometimes use silver nitrate-infused swabs to heal oral ulcers. 

It is used by some podiatrists to kill cells located in the nail bed.

Repeated daily application of silver nitrate can induce adequate destruction of cutaneous warts.

It should be properly stored away from organic compounds. 

Commonly used in extremely low concentrations to prevent gonorrhea and control nose bleeds.

Silver nitrate is very toxic and corrosive.

Silver nitrate is known as a skin and eye irritant.

It is currently unregulated in water sources by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. 

If more than1 gram of silver is accumulated in the body, argyria may develop. 

Argyria is a permanent cosmetic condition in which the skin and internal organs turn a blue-gray color. 

Argyria does not impact the function of any affected organs despite the discoloration.

Argyria is more often associated with the consumption of colloidal silver solutions rather than with silver nitrate.

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