a new culprit in the contamination of feedstuffs has been identified! it's cyanuric acid (structure below). cyanuric acid is used primarily as a chlorine stabilizer in backyard pools in the USA (it prevents chlorine loss due to UV light). compare this structure to that of melamine!
apparently, under certain sets of conditions, cyanuric acid can combine with melamine and form a lovely planar structure (see electron micrograph and inset drawing below) -- which forms spontaneously and is loaded with hydrogen bonds.
its toxicology is unknown, but , as quoted in the NYTimes:
“I’m convinced melamine can’t do it by itself,” said Richard Goldstein, an assistant professor at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. “I think it’s this melamine with other compounds that is toxic.”
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