Difference Between Nitrite and Nitrate

both Nitrates and nitrites are known as naturally occurring chemical compounds having oxygen and nitrogen in them. the basic Difference Between Nitrite and Nitrate is that in nitrates, oxygen three atoms are bonded with nitrogen atoms while in nitrites, two oxygen atoms are tightly bonded with nitrogen atoms.

Difference Between Nitrite and Nitrate in Tabular Form

Nitrite Nitrate
An organic polyatomic ion carrying a ‘-1’ charge, made of one Nitrogen and 3 Oxygen atoms An inorganic polyatomic ion carrying a ‘-1’ charge, made of one Nitrogen and two Oxygen atoms
Contain nitrogen atom and three oxygen atoms contain nitrogen atom and two oxygen atoms
The oxidation number in Nitrogen is +3. The oxidation number in Nitrogen is +5.
Nitrites can be oxidized to form nitrates Nitrates can be reduced to form nitrites
Nitrate can be used in fertilizers and explosives Nitrate can be in food preservatives

Nitrite Vs Nitrate – overview

These are the ions that occurred naturally and are part of the nitrogen cycle. These are inorganic compounds composed of nitrogen and oxygen. Nitrate is found in groundwater naturally and the surface is a few milligrams per liter. If considered with many groundwaters, you can observe the increase of nitrate levels because of the intensification of farming particles. Nitrates contain 3 oxygen atoms and their chemical formula is NO3-. On the other hand, Nitrites contain 2 oxygen atoms and their chemical formula is NO2-. In this article, you will the basic difference between nitrites and nitrates in detail.


Nitrite contains an anion that is a conjugate base of nitric acid that contains a central nitrogen atom surrounded by three identically oxygen atoms bonded in a trigonal planar arrangement where the nitrate ion is carried by a formal charge of −1. The combination of formal charge results in the 3 oxygen atoms carries a − 2⁄3 charge, whereas the nitrogen atom carries a +1 charge, which adds up to the formal charge of the polyatomic nitrate ion. This type of combination of the formal charge is also seen as a resonance example.

Nitrites are turned into Nitric Oxide that is a good chemical. Nitrite can also turn into Nitrosamide that is a bad chemical. Cancer is a disease caused by Nitrosamide if Nitrosamide is consumed more than the body can take. Nitric oxide is important for the body that helps in transmitting arterial cells that relax the system. Nitrates obtained or produced from nitric acid is a strong acid. Nitrates can be reduced to produce nitrites. They can be used in food preservatives.


It is a member of either of two classes of compounds derived from nitric acid (HNO3). The salt of nitric acid is an ionic compound containing the nitrate ion NO3, and NH4+ which is the positive ion of nitric acid in ammonium nitrate. Esters of nitric acid have a structure R―O―NO2, these are organic compounds. where R indicates an organic group.

Nitrate is an organic polyatomic ion carrying a ‘-1’ charge which is made of one 3 oxygen atoms and a nitrogen atom. The oxidation number in Nitrogen is +5.

They are characterized by their triangular (NO3) groups where (CO3)2– groups are carbonates. The nitrogen cation (N5+) in nitrates carries a high charge and is strongly polarizing like the carbon cation (C4+) of the CO3 group. Nitrogen-oxygen bond has greater strength than the corresponding carbon-oxygen bond in carbonates, nitrates can be decomposed less readily in the presence of acids.

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