What Are Chelating Agents?

  • Chelating agents are organic compounds capable of linking together metal ions to form complex ring-like structures called chelates. They are also known as chelants, chelators, or sequestering agents.

    1. What Are Natural Chelating Agents?

    Citric, malic, lactic, and tartaric acids and certain amino acids are naturally occurring chelating agents, but they are not as powerful as EDTA. The EDTA (ethylene-diamine-tetraacetic acid) molecule is a chelating agent widely used in molecular biology to sequester divalent and trivalent metal ions such as calcium and magnesium.

    1. What Is aTypical Chelating Agent?

    An example of a simple chelating agent is ethylenediamine. A single molecule of ethylenediamine can form two bonds to a transition-metal ion such as nickel(II), Ni2+.

    1. What Is the Most Common Chelating Agent?

    Calcium disodium ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (CaNa2EDTA) is the most commonly used chelating agent. It is a derivative of ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA); a synthetic polyamino-polycarboxylic acid and since 1950s has been one of the mainstays for the treatment of childhood lead poisoning.

    1. What Are Chelating Agents Used to Do?

    Chelating agents can be used to treat heavy metal poisoning. Chelation therapy is the preferred medical treatment for reducing the toxic effects of metals. Chelating agents are capable of binding to toxic metal ions to form complex structures which are easily excreted from the body removing them from intracellular or extracellular spaces.

    1. What Are the Chelation Drug?

    Chelation therapy involves the injecting a type of medication called a chelator or chelating agent. Some common chelators include ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, dimercaptosuccinic acid, and dimercaprol. Some chelators are better at removing certain metals than others.

    1. What Makes a Good Chelating Agent?

    An ideal chelator should have high solubility in water, resistance to biotransformation, ability to reach the sites of metal storage, retain chelating ability at the pH of body fluids and the property of forming metal complexes that are less toxic than the free metal ion.

    1. How to Find Chelating Agents for Research Use?

    As an established drug delivery company that provides customized solutions for developing and producing new, biocompatible drug delivery systems, CD Bioparticles offers a list of chelating agents for research uses, including Macrocycles, THP Derivatives, DFO Derivatives, TACN Derivatives, NOTA Derivatives, DTPA Derivatives, DOTA Derivatives, CYCLEN Derivatives, CYCLAM Derivatives, 13ane(N4) Derivatives, and Phosphinic Derivatives. CD Bioparticles works closely with customers and collaborators to find the drug delivery solution that best fits their needs and our experts support clients through all stages of the development process, from formulation development to preclinical trials.


    1. Gupta, Ramesh C., et al. Handbook of toxicology of chemical warfare agents. Academic Press. 2015.
    2. Flora, Swaran JS, et al. Chelation in metal intoxication. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2010, 2745-2788.
    3. Weinstein, L. H., et al. Chelating agents and plant nutrition. Science. 1954, 41-43.

    Flora, Swaran JS, et al. Chelation in metal intoxication. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2010, 2745-2788.