(1) The combination of a metal ion with a chemical compound, forming a ring.

(2) The binding of a bidentate or multidentate ligand.

(medicine) The method of removing heavy metal (e.g. mercury or lead) from the bloodstream using a chelate (e.g. EDTA).


Chelation is used in separating and extracting metals, such as in countering and treating heavy metal poisoning. A chelant or chelating agent binds to form a complex with certain metal ions to inactivate the ions so that they cannot normally react with other elements or ions.

Word origin: from Greek chele, meaning claw.

Related terms:

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