Melamine cyanurate

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Melamine-cyanuric acid complex[1]
Melamine-cyanuric acid chemical structure color.png
IUPAC name
1,3,5-Triazine-2,4,6(1H,3H,5H)-trione + 1,3,5-triazine-2,4,6-triamine (1:1)
Other names
Melamine-cyanuric acid compound, melamine-cyanuric acid adduct, melamine cyanurate, melamine isocyanurate
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.048.687
MeSH melamine+cyanurate


Molar mass 255.19 g/mol
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Melamine cyanurate, also known as melamine-cyanuric acid adduct or melamine-cyanuric acid complex, is a crystalline complex formed from a 1:1 mixture of melamine and cyanuric acid. The substance is not a salt despite its non-systematic name melamine cyanurate. The complex is held together by an extensive two-dimensional network of hydrogen bonds between the two compounds, reminiscent of the guanine-cytosine base pairs found in DNA.[2] Melamine cyanurate forms spoke-like crystals from aqueous solutions [3] and has been implicated as a causative agent for toxicity seen in the Chinese protein export contamination and the 2007 pet food recall.[3]


The substance is best described as a melamine-cyanuric acid complex, or non-covalent adduct. The two compounds do not form a salt as suggested by its colloquial name melamine cyanurate.


Melamine cyanurate is commonly used as a fire retardant and has been implicated in several fatal food adulteration scandals.


It has been considered to be more toxic than either melamine or cyanuric acid alone.[4]

LD50 in rats and mice (ingested):

A toxicology study conducted after recent pet food recalls concluded that the combination of melamine and cyanuric acid in diet does lead to acute renal failure in cats.[5] A 2008 study produced similar experimental results in rats and characterized the melamine and cyanuric acid in contaminated pet food from the 2007 outbreak.[6]

Section of the extensive two-dimensional hydrogen bond network (dashed) between melamine (blue) and cyanuric acid (red)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ EPA: Substance : Archived 2008-09-22 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Perdigão LM, Champness NR, Beton PH (2006). "Surface self-assembly of the cyanuric acid-melamine hydrogen bonded network". Chem. Commun. (5): 538–540. doi:10.1039/b514389f. PMID 16432575.
  3. ^ a b Lili He; Yang Liu; Mengshi Lin; Joseph Awika; David R Ledoux; Hao Li; Azlin Mustapha (2008). "A new approach to measure melamine, cyanuric acid, and melamine cyanurate using surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy coupled with gold nanosubstrates". Sens. & Instrumen. Food Qual. 2: 66–71. doi:10.1007/s11694-008-9038-0.
  4. ^ A.A. Babayan, A.V.Aleksandryan, "Toxicological characteristics of melamine cyanurate, melamine and cyanuric acid", Zhurnal Eksperimental'noi i Klinicheskoi Meditsiny, Vol.25, 345-9 (1985). Original article in Russian.
  5. ^ Puschner et al. (November 2007). Assessment of melamine and cyanuric acid toxicity in cats. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. Retrieved on 2007-11-16.
  6. ^ Dobson; et al. (August 2008). "Identification and characterization of toxicity of contaminants in pet food leading to an outbreak of renal toxicity in cats and dogs". Toxicological Sciences. Retrieved 2009-08-13.