The derivatisation of phloroglucinol by acidified nitrite has been investigated as a means through which the latter can be quantified within freshwater and saline samples. The resulting nitroso derivative is shown to provide a number of options through which an electroanalytical signal can be obtained. Three distinct species can be electrochemically addressed and their respective sensitivities and practical implementations have been evaluated. The technology has been successfully transferred from bulk electrode formats to a disposable screen-printed electrode platform that is more amenable to field analysis. The analytical viability of the resulting assay system has been critically assessed and validated through the determination of endogenous nitrite within lake water and through recovery experiments in seawater. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.