chelating agents Chemicals that combine with metal ions and remove them from their sphere of action, also called sequestrants. They are used in food manufacture to remove traces of metal ions which might otherwise cause foods to deteriorate and clinically to reduce absorption of a mineral, or to increase its excretion; e.g. citrates, tartrates, phosphates, and EDTA.
chelating agent (kee-layt-ing) n. a chemical compound that forms complexes by binding metal ions. Some chelating agents, including desferrioxamine and penicillamine, are drugs used to treat metal poisoning: the metal is bound to the drug and excreted safely.
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