The nitrite ion has the chemical formula NO2−. The anion is symmetric with equal N-O bond lengths and a O-N-O bond angle of ca. 120°. On protonation the unstable weak acid nitrous acid is produced. Nitrite can be oxidised or reduced, with product somewhat dependent on the oxidizing/reducing agent. The nitrite ion is an ambidentate ligand and is known to bond to metal centres in at least five different ways. Nitrite is important in biochemistry as a source of the vasodilator nitric oxide. Nitrites are used for curing meat. In organic chemistry the NO2 group is present in nitrous acid esters and nitro compounds.
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