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Good question....

It gets a little deeper than this and I'd have to look at some references in order to give you some numbers, however generally speaking, nitrogen is an element that the plants use as a nutrient. Nitrate is just one of several different forms that nitrogen can be presented in. Nitrate contains a certain percentage of nitrogen, so does ammonium for example. So when one talks about nitrogen, they are not referring to a specific form of nitrogen, just the basic element itself.

Hope that helps
Giancarlo Podio
 
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