The uptake, depuration and toxicity of environmental nitrite was characterized in Litopenaeus vannamei exposed in water containing low concentrations of artificial sea salt or mixed salts. In 2 g/L artificial sea salts, nitrite was concentrated in the hemolymph in a dose-dependent and rapid manner (steady-state in about 2 d). When exposed to nitrite in 2 g/L artificial sea salts for 4 d and then moved to a similar environment without added nitrite, complete depuration occurred within a day. Increasing salinity up to 10 g/L decreased uptake of environmental nitrite. Nitrite uptake in environments containing 2 g/L mixed salts (combination of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium chlorides) was similar to or lower than rates in 2 g/L artificial sea salt. Toxicity was inversely related to total dissolved salt and chloride concentrations and was highest in 2 g/L artificial sea salt (96-h medial lethal concentration = 8.4 mg/L nitrite-N). Animals that molted during the experiments did not appear to be more susceptible to nitrite than animals that did not molt. The shallow slope of the curve describing the relationship between toxicity and salinity suggests that management of nitrite toxicity in low-salinity shrimp ponds by addition of more salts may not be practical. ?? Copyright by the World Aquaculture Society 2004.