Acrylamide, widely used for the production of polymers and as a grouting agent, causes neurotoxic effects in humans and neurotoxic, genotoxic, reproductive, and carcinogenic effects in laboratory animals. In this study, 13C NMR spectroscopy was used to detect metabolites of acrylamide directly in the urine of rats and mice following administration of [1,2,3-13C]acrylamide (50 mg/kg po). Two-dimensional NMR experiments were used to correlate carbon signals for each metabolite in the urine samples and to determine the number of hydrogens attached to each carbon. Metabolite structures were identified from the NMR data together with calculated values of shift for biochemically feasible metabolites and by comparison with standards. The metabolites assigned in rat and mouse urine are N-acetyl-S-(3-amino-3-oxopropyl)cysteine, N-acetyl-S-(3-amino-2-hydroxy-3-oxopropyl)cysteine, N-acetyl-S-(1-carbamoyl-2-hydroxy-ethyl)cysteine, glycidamide, and 2,3-dihydroxypropionamide. These metabolites arise from direct conjugation of acrylamide with glutathione or from oxidation to the epoxide, glycidamide, and further metabolism. Acrylamide was also detected in the urine. Quantitation was carried out by integrating the metabolite carbon signals with respect to that of dioxane added at a known concentration. The major metabolite for both the rat (70% of total metabolites excreted) and the mouse (40%) was formed from direct conjugation of acrylamide with glutathione. The remaining metabolites for the rat (30%) and mouse (60%) are derived from glycidamide. The species differences in extent of metabolism through glycidamide may have important consequences for the toxic and carcinogenic effects of acrylamide.