Research on acrylamide in food was very important because the compound was known to be mutagenic and carcinogenic in animals. The discovery of acrylamide in foods has led to a further search for other potential toxicants that may be produced during heat treatment of foods.
Acrylamide (CH2=CH-CONH2, CAS No. 79-06-1) is a synthetic vinyl compound. It is an unsaturated amide that exists as a white, odorless crystalline sold at room temperature. It is soluble in water methanol, ethanol, acetone, ethyl acetate and chloroform.
When heated to decomposition, acrylamide emits acrid fumes and nitrogen oxides.
When polymerized, polyacrylamide is formed, which is a long chain molecule with molecular weight in the millions and which is essentially nonionic. By adding carboxyl functional groups, an anionic product is obtained.
By adding amino, imino, or quaternary amino function functional groups, a cationic product is obtained.
What is acrylamide?