Nitrite and Nitrate
Nitrite and Nitrate are used interchangeably because of their similar pronunciation and spelling. Both are inorganic compounds composed of nitrogen and oxygen. It is the number of oxygen atoms that bring out the difference in the structure, shape and function. Nitrites have one nitrogen atom and two oxygen atoms, while nitrates have one nitrogen atom and three oxygen atoms.
A nitrite can become a nitrate by the process of oxidation and similarly, a nitrate can become a nitrite by the process of reduction. The various differences between nitrites and nitrates are listed in this article.
Difference Between Nitrite and Nitrate
|Made up of a nitrogen atom and two oxygen atoms||Made up of a nitrogen atom and three oxygen atoms|
|The oxidation number of nitrogen in nitrites is +3||The oxidation number of nitrogen in nitrates is +5|
|Forms a weak acid known as nitrous acid||Forms a strong acid known as nitric acid|
|Has a bent molecular geometry shape||Trigonal plane geometry shape|
|Oxidised to form nitrates||Reduced to form nitrites|
|Used in food preservatives||Used in fertilizers and explosives|
The listed were a few differences between nitrate and nitrite. The main difference between nitrate and nitrite is the number of oxygen atoms in each that results in the difference in the structure, shape and function.