Urea (also known as carbamide) is a waste product of many living organisms, and is the major organic component of human urine. This is because it is at the end of chain of reactions which break down the amino acids that make up proteins. These amino acids are metabolised and converted in the liver to ammonia, CO2, water and energy. But the ammonia is toxic to cells, and so must be excreted from the body. Aquatic creatures, such as fish, can expel the ammonia directly into the water, but land-based animals need another disposal method. So the liver converts the ammonia to a non-toxic compound, urea, which can then be safely transported in the blood to the kidneys, where it is eliminated in urine.