Diagnostic determination of melamine and related compounds in kidney tissue by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry

Michael S. Filigenzi, Birgit Puschner, Linda S. Aston, Robert H Poppenga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

219 Scopus citations


In 2007, it was determined that melamine, ammeline, ammelide, and cyanuric acid (abbreviated as MARC for melamine and related contaminants) had been added to wheat gluten and rice protein that were subsequently incorporated into pet food. The consumption of food tainted by MARC compounds was implicated in numerous instances of renal failure in cats and dogs. A method for the analysis of MARC compounds in kidney tissue using high-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS/MS) has been developed. MARC analytes were extracted by homogenization of kidney tissue in 50/40/10 acetonitrile/water/diethylamine. The homogenate was centrifuged, and an aliquot of supernatant was diluted with acetonitrile, concentrated, and fortified with a stable isotope-labeled analogue of melamine. Analytes were detected using atmospheric pressure chemical ionization and multiple reaction monitoring. Quantitation of positive samples was performed using the internal standard method and five-point calibration curves ranging between 50 and 1000 ng/mL of each analyte. The method was validated by analysis of replicate kidney tissue samples fortified with the individual analytes and by analysis of kidney samples fortified with melamine cyanurate powder at two different concentrations. This method was successfully used for routine postmortem diagnosis of melamine toxicosis in animals. Melamine was also detected by this method in paraffin-embedded tissue from animals suspected to have died of melamine toxicosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7593-7599
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 10 2008


  • Cyanuric acid
  • Kidney
  • Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry
  • Melamine
  • Melamine cyanurate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Chemistry(all)


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