Sources of Exposure to Nitrogen Oxides

Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


Human exposure to nitrate and nitrite comes from a variety of sources. Nitrate and nitrite are part of the human diet, present in drinking water, and nutrients in many vegetables as well as part of food preservation systems in cured meats. Thus, exposure is heavily dependent on geographic location and diet. Endogenously produced nitrate and nitrite are derived from nitric oxide metabolism and approximately 25 % of plasma nitrate is retained in the body via an enterosalivary pathway. The major source of nitrite and nitrate ingestion is from vegetables and enterosalivary recycling including oral reduction to nitrite by commensal bacteria.


Dietary nitrate/nitrite Drinking water nitrite/nitrate Environmental nitrate/nitrite Salivary nitrate/nitrite Nitric oxide Cured meats Nitrite safety 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal Sciences, Meat Science and Muscle BiologyUniversity of Wisconsin—MadisonMadisonUSA

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