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Thread: Chemical reaction caused crystals in tainted foods

  1. #1
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    Chemical reaction caused crystals in tainted foods

    This news just in:

    http://tinyurl.com/2ll3o5

    Scientists track chemical reactions in pet food
    Updated Fri. Apr. 27 2007 5:27 PM ET
    Ashleigh Patterson, CTV.ca News

    "Researchers at the University of Guelph say they have discovered a chemical
    reaction that may explain how animals across North America fell ill after
    eating contaminated pet food.

    Dr. Perry Martos and colleagues from the Agriculture and Food Laboratory at
    Guelph's Laboratory Services announced Friday they have discovered a
    dangerous reaction when melamine and cyanuric acid - the two contaminants
    found in the imported wheat gluten used in the pet food -- are combined.

    The two chemicals react to form crystals that could block kidney function.

    The crystal-like substances found in the urine and kidneys of affected
    animals matched the crystals produced when the chemicals were combined at
    the University's Animal Health Laboratory.

    Researchers believe this is a possible link between the compounds and the
    deaths of animals exposed to the contaminated pet food.

    "This was really just another piece of the puzzle," John Melichercik,
    Director of Analytical Services for Laboratory Services told CTV.ca.

    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."

    However, Melichercik was quick to point out that the university's findings
    were only a small part of the research needed to find out what caused pets
    to become sick from the recalled pet food.

    "This is not the definitive on the entire case but it is another significant
    piece of the puzzle that shows inside the body of animals if you have these
    two components present, they can come together and form these crystals which
    are being found in all of the animals that have been sick."

    Melamine is used in making plastics and in other industrial processes and
    cyanuric acid is commonly used in pool chlorination.

    Traces of both chemicals turned up in tests conducted last month after
    animals across North America fell ill after eating certain brands of pet
    food. The chemicals were in wheat gluten, an ingredient in he pet food.

    Melichercik said there is already body of research regarding the industrial
    effects of combining the two compounds, but there was no previous research
    on the effects they have when combined and ingested by animals.

    "That's fairly novel, that information hasn't been out there previously as
    we've been working through these particular cases over the last five weeks
    or so," Melichercik said.

    Officials estimate nearly 39,000 pets were sickened in the U.S. after nearly
    100 brands of now recalled pet food were sold, which equated to about one
    per cent of the overall U.S. pet food supply.

    Ontario-based Menu Foods recalled 60 million cans of wet pet food after it
    was learned they contained contaminated wheat gluten imported from China.

    Wheat gluten is used as a source of protein for animals. It was initially
    believed the gluten was contaminated by aminopterin; a rat poison and cancer
    drug.

    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."

  2. #2
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    Interesting, thanks for posting that.
    Thank you Amy!

    "There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before." ~ Robert Lynd
    I've been Boo'd!

  3. #3
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    I Still Think That It Boils Down To These High Priced Companies Sub Contracting The Work To Others And Sadly All These Companion Pets Are Lost In The Name Of Profits.
    Bah!!!
    THE RAINBOW BRIDGE FOUND HOTEL ANGELS HAVE A NEW FRIEND IN CORINNA.


    ALMOND ROCCA BATON AND ELLIE ANGELS ARE GUARDIANS TO ETERNAL KITTENS ROCC-EL AND T TEEN ANGEL, ALMOND ROCA , VLAD , PAWLEE , SPRITE. LITTLE HEX, OSIRIS AND ANNIE ANGELS.
    EBONY BEAU TUBSTER AND PEACHES BW SPIKE & SMOKEY


    NOW PRECIOUS AND SAM ARE TOGETHER WITH ETERNAL KITTENS SAMMY ,PRESLEY, SYLVESTER AND SCRATCHY JR , MIGHTY MARINA, COSMIC CARMEN, SAMSON ,UNDER KITTY AND SUNKIST AUTUMN & PUMPKIN.
    MIA AND ORANGE BLOSSOM ANGELS HAVE ADOPTED TUXIE , TROOPER , SONGBIRD AND LITTLE BITTY KITTIES MIA-MI BLOSSOMER, TUXEDO AND DASH AS THIER ETERNAL KITTENS.
    PRINCESS JOSEPH AND MICHAEL ARE CELEBRATING 19 YEARS AS LUCKY FOUND CATS

  4. #4
    Melamine and cyanuric acid are both high-nitrogen compounds, which can falsely boost protein content readings on testing (because protein content testing detects nitrogen). Higher protein reading = higher market price.

    It looks like they were trying to keep either one from being detected by adding just a little of each, but the combination blew the whistle on them.

    Love, Columbine

  5. #5
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    This makes sense. In pharma we have to make sure nothing in a pill will react with anything else in a pill to make it toxic. Sometimes that happens, and the pill formula needs to be changed. Melamine by itself seems to have very low toxicity, but it has bits that can react very easily with other things.
    I've been finally defrosted by cassiesmom!
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