EDTA crystals, light micrograph

EDTA crystals, light micrograph

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Credit: MAREK MIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: EDTA crystals. Polarised light micrograph of a section through ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) crystals. EDTA is used primarily for its effectiveness at binding metal ions (chelating). After being bound by EDTA, metal ions remain in solution but exhibit distinctly diminished reactivity. In industry it has a variety of uses, including for dissolving limescale and preventing metal ion impurities from modifying the colours of dyed products. In medicine EDTA is used to treat heavy metal poisoning through chelation therapy, where it is used to bind metal ions in the body. Magnification: x100, when printed 10 centimetres wide.

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