What is Acetamide

Acetamide (or acetic acid amide or ethanamide), CH3CONH2, the amide of acetic acid, is a white crystalline solid in pure form. It is produced by dehydrating ammonium acetate. It is used as a plasticizer and in the synthesis of many other organic compounds.
The derivative N,N-dimethylacetamide (DMA), which has two methyl groups replacing the amine protons, is used as a solvent. N-methylacetamide is often used as the simplest model in studies of the peptide bond.


Acetamide is not extremely combustible, but releases irritating fumes when ignited. It is toxic by inhalation (of dust), ingestion, skin and eye contact. Skin or eye contact may cause redness and pain.


Recent work on the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope has resulted in the discovery of several organic (carbon-based) compounds near the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Acetamide has been detected. This is particularly important as acetamide has an amide bond, similar to the essential bond between amino acids in proteins. This supports the theory that organic molecules that can lead to life (as we know it on Earth) can form in space.Cancer link

Acetamide has been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals. It is classified in Group 2B "possible human carcinogen" by the IARC.

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