Arcylamide is an organic molecule which contains an amide group (i.e. a CO-NH2 group). Its chemical formula is C3H5NO, and its structural formula is CH2-CH-CO-NH2. Its scientific name is prop-2-enamide. It is also called acrylic amide.
It is used in industrial chemistry as a water-soluble thickener. In particular, it is used to produce polyacrylamide gel, the base material for electrophoresis, a laboratory technique to separate components in a mixture.
Acrylamide was found in some cooked foods (crisps, chips, toast, roasted coffee, etc.) in 2002. It forms by a chemical reaction at the end of cooking between a sugar (glucose or fructose) and an amino acid (asparagine).
It is considered to be carcinogenic. It is strongly suspected of having a predisposing role towards breast cancer. As a result, people are recommended not to over-cook food and to avoid anything that has been grilled to dark brown.