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Potassium nitrate: Potassium nitrate is a chemical compound with the chemical formula KNO3. It is an ionic salt of potassium ions K+ and nitrate ions NO3−, and is therefore an alkali metal nitrate. It occurs in nature as a mineral, niter. It is a source of nitrogen, from which it derives its name. Potassium nitrate is one of several nitrogen-containing compounds collectively referred to as saltpeter or saltpetre. Major uses of potassium nitrate are in fertilizers, tree stump removal, rocket propellants and fireworks. It is one of the major constituents of gunpowder -black powder- and has been used since the Middle Ages as a food preservative.