chelating agents kē´lātĭng [key]. Certain organic compounds are capable of forming coordinate bonds (see chemical bond) with metals through two or more atoms of the organic compound; such organic compounds are called chelating agents. The compound formed by a chelating agent and a metal is called a chelate. A chelating agent that has two coordinating atoms is called bidentate; one that has three, tridentate; and so on. EDTA, or ethylenediaminetetraacetate, (−O2CH2)2NCH2CH2N(CH2CO2−)2, is a common hexadentate chelating agent. Chlorophyll is a chelate that consists of a magnesium ion joined with a complex chelating agent; heme, part of the hemoglobin in blood, is an iron chelate. Chelating agents are important in textile dyeing, water softening, and enzyme deactivation and as bacteriocides.
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