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Some of urea in urine breaks down to ammonia

  1. Aug 19, 2010 #1
    I'm not a science student. So, please be simple and straightforward.

    I remember once I smelled a sample of urine which had been kept there for some days. It smelled so gross that I was going to puke. Someone said that it was because of ammonia which had resulted from break down of urea. I have never smalled pure ammonia, there I can't confirm it. What is your opinion? Please let me know.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 19, 2010 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Someone was right - ammonia is a product of urea decomposition, and old urine has a distinct ammonia smell.

  4. Aug 19, 2010 #3
    Thanks a lot, Borek.
  5. Aug 23, 2010 #4


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    I have no experience you understand, but I would expect that as well as ammonia which smells bad but in a clean sort of way, after all it is used in household cleaning materials, there is added bouquet produced by compounds made by the bacteria and stuff that has grown in it. Not necessarily a lot of it. There might be more ammonia, but the aroma could be more due to minor constituents.

    Like, according to my memory (I have no knowledge you understand) the major constituents of coffee aroma are acetone and methyl ethyl ketone but coffee does not smell much like them, there is a ripe old mixture of stuff, see e.g. http://www.coffeeresearch.org/science/aromamain.htm
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