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Any of numerous inorganic and organic chemical compounds related to sulfuric acid (HSO). One subgroup comprises salts containing the sulfate ion (SO2) linked via ionic bonds with any of various cations. Another subgroup of sulfates, the esters, are organic compounds in which sulfuric acid's hydrogen atoms are replaced by organic groups (e.g., methyl, ethyl, phenyl); a carbon atom in the organic group bonds to an oxygen atom, whose second bond is to the sulfur atom. (In sulfonates, a carbon atom bonds directly to the sulfur atom.) See alsobonding.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on sulfate, visit Britannica.com.