Nitrite - NO2-

What is Nitrite (NO2)?

NO2 is a symmetric anion with the chemical name Nitrite. It is also called Nitrite anion or Nitrite Ion.

Nitrite is composed of 1 Nitrogen and 2 Oxygen atoms. Their flow of circulation is as follows – from the digestive system into the blood, the saliva and back to the digestive system. Therefore this is called entero-salivary circulation. It appears as a colourless liquid or crystalline solid. When in contact, it can cause irritation to mucous membranes, skin, and eyes.

Nitrite is usually produced by the absorption of nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide in an alkaline solution. In ancient times nitrate was prepared by fusing sodium nitrate with lead. Later the resultant sodium nitrite and the resulting sodium nitrate were dissolved in water. Using filtration technique, it was separated from its by-product, lead oxide.

Properties of Nitrite – NO2

NO2 Nitrite
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass 46.005 g/mol
Conjugate acid Nitrous acid
Structure symmetrical structure
Bond angle 115°

Nitrite Structure (NO2 Structure)

Nitrite Structure 1

Nitrite (NO2) Uses

  • It prevents bacterial growth and is hence used for curing meat.
  • Medically it is used as a vasodilator to relieve cardiac pain.
  • It is added to processed meats such as bacon, hot dogs, and sausages.
  • It functions as an antimicrobial in the digestive system to help kill pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is nitrite used for?

In food processing and biochemistry, nitrite. Sodium nitrite is used to treat foods, as it inhibits bacterial growth and explicitly inhibits botulism. Nitrite inhibits the germination of endospores of C.


Why is nitrite toxic?

Bacteria in our saliva, stomach, and intestines convert nitrates into nitrites and it is primarily the nitrites that cause toxicity. The iron component of red blood cells (haemoglobin) is oxidized by nitrites making them unable to carry oxygen.


What is the difference between nitrate and nitrite?

The distinction between the two chemicals is that they contain oxygen. Nitrates are composed of 3 oxygen atoms with a chemical NO3 formula, whereas Nitrites have 2 oxygen atoms that make up a chemical NO2 formula. Nitrites are converted and made into healthy chemical Nitric Oxide.


What is the ion of nitrite?

Nitrite is an ion consisting of an atom of nitrogen bound up with two oxygen atoms. The nitrite is actually known as an anion. An ion is a positively or negatively charged molecule, and an anion is a type of ion bearing a negative charge. Nitrite’s molecular Weight is 46.01g / mol.


What does nitrite smell like?

Amyl nitrite is an extremely flammable, highly volatile, clear or yellow-coloured oil that is commonly inhaled from a small glass bottle. It typically has a distinct smell that resembles dirty socks.

Learn more about the Structure, physical and chemical properties of Nitrite (NO2) from the experts at BYJU’S.

Other related links:

Nitrogen Oxygen


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