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Nitrous acid
Nitrous acid
Ethidium bromide
Page Title

Mutagen Horrors

This deletion mutagen starts out as Sodium Nitrate a common food additive. Sodium Nitrate naturally forms when foods are preserved by smoking. It is converted to Nitrous acid in the stomach.


Nitrous acid (HNO2) comes in the form of nitrite salts, it is a weak and monobasic acid.
It is used to make diazides from amines. A diazide is an organic compound that has two linked nitrogen compounds.
This compound is not mutagenic itself but becomes mutagenic when metabolized. It causes oxidative deamination of particular bases, altering some base pairs of our DNA.
It deaminates amino groups attached to nucleic acid bases, they've also caused mutations in bacteria, viruses, yeasts and molds.

Nitrous acid rapidly decomposes into nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, and water when in solution.

2HNO2 ---> NO2 + NO + H2O

It also decomposes into nitric acid and nitrous oxide and water.

4HNO2 ---> 2HNO3 + N2O + H2O

Effects on Humans
Follow this link to see effects on human airways and mucous membranes