Canadian University Finds Chemical Reaction with Melamine

Researchers at University of Guelph say they found a reaction between melamine and cyanuric acid that may explain why pet are falling ill.

Scientists took laboratory levels of melamine and cyanuric acid and added them together in a test tube at a PH level that mimics the environment of the kidneys of an animal.

“When we did it in the laboratory and it was instantaneous,” Melichercik said.

“What were two clear liquids, when were combined, actually go very murky and if you leave it for a little bit, these crystals settle out and you can pick them off and then analyze them.”

Melichercik explained the process produced a “chemical fingerprint” that allowed scientists to compare their findings with what was found in the kidneys of sick animals.

“We overlaid those two fingerprints and they were basically the same substance.”

(Thanks Donna-Marie)

18 Responses to “Canadian University Finds Chemical Reaction with Melamine”

  1. Chad says:

    So someone introduces two cemicals into the food chain. Seperate the levels are not enough to do any damange, nor raise any eye brows. But, when combined DISCO you got poison.

    If that is correct, I find it hard to believe any of this was a simple mistake.

  2. KatieKat says:

    Thank you Canada, FDA sure hasn’t figured anything out!

  3. Helen says:

    Chad, that is just like a poison from Babylon 5. What we see in science fiction, we keep seeing in front of our own eyes. Now they are checking RPC in baby food. Wonder how the tests will come out. EEEEK.

  4. Bichon Mom says:

    The article says:

    “We overlaid those two fingerprints and they were basically the same substance.”

    Here’s a link to a page on the University of Guelph’s website, where they have posted the photo that was used in the CTV article and also the overlay of the chemical “fingerprints” when compared by infrared spectroscopy (FTIR):


  5. Helen says:

    If this stuff was intended for us, it has backfired. It might take a long time for this to affect humans as much as pets, since we eat so many different foods (shuddering thinking about baby food though). If this is so, our pets ARE canaries in the coal mine…so many of them that have died have been fed either only one food or a combination of two poison foods. Our poor fur babies! They are so much smaller, and cats have such vulnerable kidneys to begin with!!!!!

  6. KatieKat says:

    I am petrified at the thought of this stuff in formula, babies are so little!! and they drink the same thing everyday, like our pets ate the same thing everyday……

  7. june says:

    What the ____ is cyanuric acid doing in pet food?

  8. Bichon Mom says:

    Cyanuric acid is what Royal Canin found when their foods were recently recalled (April 20th).

    “Royal Canin has discovered a new contaminant in rice gluten. This contaminant is cyanuric acid, which is chemically related to, but distinct from, melamine.”

  9. Traci says:

    “What the ____ is cyanuric acid doing in pet food?”

    My understanding is that it was added for the same reason as melamine, to boost the nitrogen level by which the protein was (falsely) measured.

  10. Mary says:

    RE: Cyanuric Acid - here is some information from ProMed Mail: Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 03:48:19 -0400
    From: Stacy
    Subject: Fw: Comment on cyanuric acid found in tainted dog food

    A ProMED-mail post

    ProMED-mail is a program of the
    International Society for Infectious Diseases

    Date: 26 Apr 2007
    From: Hugh Baker

    With regard to your comment: “Cyanuric acid is most often used in
    swimming pools to slow the breakdown of chlorination by sunlight.
    Certainly this is not a product for use in food. The exact reason for
    this being in the gluten products is not entirely clear;” cyanuric
    acid is one of the principal products of the breakdown of melamine by
    _Klebsiella_ spp. and _Pseudomonas_ spp. Cyanuric acid is also a
    product of bacterial digestion of the herbicide Atrazine. It might be
    wise for FDA to also be testing the protein concentrates for
    bacterial contamination, as it is unlikely that the melamine would
    degenerate spontaneously in the absence of bacterial enzymes.

    According to Cheng, et al, cyanuric acid is further broken down to
    urea (via allophanate), which is why melamine is used as a fertilizer.

    Allophanate Hydrolase, Not Urease, Functions in Bacterial Cyanuric
    Acid Metabolism. Gang Cheng, Nir Shapir, Michael J. Sadowsky and
    Lawrence P. Wackett. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 August;71(8):

    - –
    Dr. Hugh Baker
    Veterinary Program Officer - Exports
    Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    Toronto Regional Office
    1124 Finch Avenue West
    Toronto, Ontario M3J 2E2
    Government of Canada


  11. Helen says:

    Does heat break down the melamine into cyanuric acid or only bacteria I wonder. If Royal Canin found it in the food, it didn’t just happen in the digestive tract.

  12. Lorie says:

    I am way behind on this blog just read it. I am in tears thinking this is what has been going iside my two cats little bodies. I do not know it their little bodies will ever be the same now that the new issues have surfaced.

  13. sandi says:

    The e mail about the PHD. who lives in Singapore, is becoming and more fascinating and incriminating.

  14. Lynn says:


    Which email are you referring to? Link, please?

  15. Busters Mom says:

    I am so frightened for our human and animal race…Cant anyone put profits aside in these companys…I’m beginning to believe that most ceos and shareholder boards are corupt…try reading theyrule and you’ll see that the Boards of companys are all made up of the same people, it’s mind bogeling. Yes unfortunatly we are the canarys like in the mines…Thank God for Blogs

  16. KAEfamily says:

    The article said, “Melamine is not considered to be a health risk to humans; however scientists have yet to study the effects of melamine combined with other compounds on the human body.”

    Ummm, I thought there was a Canadian dog owner who, in trying to entice her table-scape eating pup to eat dog food, got kidney problem after sampling some of the contaminated pet food herself, unknowingly.

  17. Kathryn says:

    So, cyanuric acid is produced when bacteria break down either (a) melamine or (b) atrazine. The presence of high levels of cyanuric acid would seem to suggest that contaminated food ALSO had a lot of bacteria present. In other words… it wasn’t just contaminated, it was rotten!

    And speaking of atrazine, I went to a talk by Tyrone Hayes earlier this year. He’s the scientist who published articles about how atrazine causes extra legs (and other health problems) in wild frogs exposed to pesticide runoff. That stuff is very very bad, not just for frogs but for mammals (including us). The FDA has basically just taken the manufacturer’s payola and refuses to do anything except make vague promises to replicate his research. There’s plenty of published work along the same lines in many species, including humans, but they want an excuse to stall instead of getting this poison off the market.

  18. Flamin says:

    Kathryn, google cows extra legs. Many farmers have farm animals born with extra legs. Bet some made they way into thew human food chain.

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