World Aquaculture Magazine - March 2024

60 MARCH 2024 • WORLD AQUACULTURE • WWW.WAS.ORG Though people are probably most familiar with melamine tableware, melamine is a chemical approved for various uses in industry (Fig. 1). It is used in manufacturing kitchenware, utensils, plastic products, industrial coatings, and paper products. In some countries, it is also used as a fertilizer; however, the widespread use of melamine has raised concerns about its potential adverse effects on human health and the environment. Melamine has been connected to several high-profile food safety problems and has been shown to have a detrimental effect on aquatic life and ecosystems. On the other hand, the Global Melamine Tableware (Fig. 2) market size is estimated to be worth USD 840.2 million in 2022 and is projected to be worth USD 1333.3 million by 2030 with a CAGR of 8 percent, highlighting the enhanced future risk of exposure. Previous research primarily addressed melamine contamination in milk and pet feed. However, it is crucial to recognize the potential risks posed to the aquatic environment and its species. In addition to contamination in pet feed, instances have been documented where fish feed has been tainted with melamine in aquaculture. It is imperative to broaden the focus and raise awareness among the public regarding this widespread concern. Therefore, it is essential to comprehend the sources, fate and toxicity of melamine to create strategies that will effectively lessen its adverse impacts on the aquatic environment as well as on aquaculture. The different aspects of melamine, including its applications, origin, fate, and toxicity in the environment, as well as the current approaches for its remediation and management, will be covered in this article. History Pet feed melamine incident Melamine has been associated with pet food contamination incidents, most notably in 2007. Adding melamine to pet food ingredients like wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate led to a large-scale recall of products. The contamination caused kidney damage and even death in some animals (FDA 2008; Bhalla et al. 2009). The incident led to a widespread recall of pet food products and sparked debate over the regulation and safety of imported food ingredients. Since the melamine contamination of pet food events, efforts have been made to enhance the safety and control of imported food components as well as to raise public awareness of the potential risks involved. Chinese milk scandal The milk scandal in China in 2008 involved the contamination of dairy products, specifically infant formula, with melamine. It was added to milk to increase its protein content and deceive quality control measures artificially. As a result, thousands of infants and children became ill, some even dying or suffering severe kidney damage. The incident led to widespread recalls, criminal charges, and stricter regulations in China’s food industry. As a result, the Total Daily Intake limits set by various international and national regulatory bodies, 0.2 mg kg-1 bw by WHO and EFSA, 0.063 mg kg-1 bw by FDA and both 2.5 mg kg-1 bw in food and 0.15 mg kg-1 bw in liquid infant formula by FSSAI. Fate in the Aquatic Environment The significant sources of melamine through which it enters the environment (Fig. 3) include: Consumer products: Melamine is present in products such as kitchenware, food packaging, fish feed, animal feed, and toys. Improper disposal of these products leads to melamine entering the environment (Lund et al. 2006). Industrial discharge: Melamine is frequently used in industrial operations to make adhesives, coatings, and polymers. Melamine is released into the environment through wastewater discharge by industries that produce or utilize it (Lutjens et al. 2023). Fate of Melamine in Aquatic Environments Swaraj Adakney, Vidya Shree Bharti, Shamika Shantaram Sawant and Aditi Banasure FIGURE 1. Chemical structure of Melamine FIGURE 2. Melamine dishware