Nitrate occurs naturally in the environment and humans can be exposed to it by the consumption of vegetables. Nitrate is present in varying concentrations in all vegetables and is part of the nitrogen cycle. Nitrate can be reduced to nitrite by microbes. Nitrite, in turn, can form carcinogenic compounds. Near IR spectroscopy can be used to find the concentration of nitrate in vegetables. The NIR method is non-destructive and fast. NIR has been an important tool for the qualitative and quantitative analyses of internal properties of fruits and vegetables. In lettuce, the nitrate absorption bands between 700-960 nm have been used to quantify the concentration of nitrate. Hyperspectral methods can be used to find the distribution of nitrate in a vegetable leaf.