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One of the simplest organic compounds and the first synthesized from inorganic raw materials (seeinorganic compound), by Friedrich Wöhler (1800–82) in 1828. It is the diamide of carbonic acid (HNCONH; seeamide; carbon dioxide). The chief nitrogenous end product of protein breakdown in mammals and some fishes, it occurs not only in urine but also in blood, bile, milk, and perspiration. It is one of the industrial chemicals produced in vast amounts. With its high nitrogen content and low price, it is a major agricultural fertilizer and animal-feed ingredient. It is also used to make urea-formaldehyde plastics (including foamed plastics; seepolyurethanes), to synthesize barbiturates, as a stabilizer in explosives, and in adhesives, hydrocarbon processing, and flameproofing.
Variants of UREA
urea or carbamide
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on urea, visit Britannica.com.