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Ammonia (NH3). A gas with a pungent odor and irritating effects on the nose and eyes. It is highly soluble in water and, by partially combining with the water to form ammonium hydroxide (NH4OH), it forms a weak base (q.v.) that produces an alkaline reaction. The term is also occasionally, and incorrectly, applied by bakers to ammonium bicarbonate (q.v.) when the latter is used as a chemical leavening agent (q.v.) in the production of some cookies (q.v.) and crackers (q.v.).