melamine (mĕlˈəmēnˌ) [key], common name for 2,4,6-triamino-1,3,5-triazine. Melamine is a trimer (see polymer) of cyanamide, H2NC–N, and is synthesized from calcium carbide. It condenses with formaldehyde to give a thermosetting resin. Melamine resins have many uses, including the manufacture of plastic dishes under the trade name Melmac. Melamine also is notorious as a toxic adulterant of food and feed products. It is added to boost a product's nitrogen content, which is used by certain tests to estimate the product's protein content.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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