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Chelating Agents Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Product Type (Sodium Gluconate, Organophosphonates, EDTA & HEDTA, EDDS, GLDA, IDS & MGDA, NTA, and Glucoheptonates), By Application (Pulp & Paper, Household, Institutional & Industrial Cleaning Product, Chemical Processing, Agrochemicals, Water Treatment, Photo Application, Consumer Product, Textile, Metal), and Regional Forecast, 2020-2027

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI104716



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The global chelating agents market size was USD 4,757.1 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 6,396.9 million by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.4% during the forecast period.

Chelating agents are chemical compounds that react to form a stable, water-soluble complex with metal ions. They are sometimes referred to as chelants, chelators, or sequestering agents. The global demand for these compounds is expected to emerge from the pulp & paper and cleaning and detergent industries during the forecast period. In addition, rapid industrialization is anticipated to drive the market in conjunction with strict government regulations for safe and freshwater for different applications, such as water treatment chemicals, among others. The growing demand for cleaning formulations, such as surface cleaners, all-purpose cleaners, and disinfectants, is likely to fuel the market.

Decreasing Demand from the Pulp & Paper Industry amid COVID-19 Pandemic to Hamper the Market

The demand for sequestering agents has seen a sluggish growth rate between 2019 and 2020 due to COVID-19 and the consequent lockdowns across several countries around the globe. This has contributed to a decline in the worldwide market for pulp & paper, leading to decreasing production. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge effect on industrial production and the world economy, which has inevitably had a direct impact on the pulp & paper industry. For instance, due to the shutdown of colleges and universities, copier paper and printing paper have recently seen a noticeable decrease in demand. Because of its disruptions on the global manufacturing supply chains, the COVID-19 pandemic is raising severe challenges to the pulp & paper industry. However, a range of paper products, such as food packaging products, corrugated packaging materials, personal hygiene paper products, and medical specialty papers, is showing positive signs. In order to minimize the risks associated with this pandemic, conventional pulp & paper-processing techniques thus need to be revamped and integrated.

In this pandemic situation, however, heightened hygiene needs have resulted in a rapid rise in the usage of cleaning products, such as surface cleaners and detergents. Moreover, biodegradable sequestering agents, such as MGDA and GLDA, continue to draw interest from household cleaning formulations and applications, such as industrial and institutional cleaning.


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Increasing Demand from the Cosmetic Industry to Drive the Market

Sequestering agents are described as ingredients that inactivate metallic ions to avoid their adverse effects on the stability or appearance of cosmetic products, according to the online ingredient dictionary of The Personal Care Product Council, wINCI. Metallic impurities may come from several different sources, either from the raw materials in the product, the water system, or the minute extractions from metallic equipment and storage containers, especially those that are naturally extracted. These metallic ions will deteriorate cosmetic products if not deactivated by reducing purity, sacrificing the integrity of the scent, and inducing rancidity/oxidation. Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and its derivatives include common sequestering agents, etidronic acid and its derivatives, galactaric acid, sodium metasilicate, and phosphate derivatives. Two common chelators used in the US personal care industry are Disodium EDTA and tetrasodium EDTA. In December 2020, Neutrol MGDA, a highly stable, eco-friendly complexing agent was introduced by BASF Care Creations for personal care applications. It is readily biodegradable and has an outstanding profile in ecology and toxicology.

In virtually any kind of personal care formulation, chelators are used to maximize potency and boost stability, thus improving market acceptance. Furthermore, they have shown the potential to improve preservative behavior. In liquid soap and body wash, for instance, chelators are used to avoid scent and color deterioration and to prevent antimicrobial synergistic impact. To stop rancidity, softening, brown spotting, splitting, and discoloration due to metal ions, as well as to increase foaming and rinsability, they are often mixed into bar soaps. Natural sequestering agents, while being biodegradable, help improve the shelf life of cosmetic products, minimizing the danger to the environment. These agents also tend to preserve essential ingredients, including unsaturated oils, when used in conjunction with antioxidants, such as tocopherol.


Demand for Green Chelating Agents Continues to Grow

The most frequently consumed sequestering agents are amino polycarboxylic acid chelators; however, the demand for green alternative chelators continues to increase. This is due to environmental concerns, such as non-biodegradability, toxicity, and mobilization, surrounding these conventional chelates of toxic metals. Moreover, over 90% of the organic chemicals are derived from non-sustainable fossil fuel refineries. The continuous loss of petroleum supplies, combined with a change by customers to greener goods, means that it is necessary to search for substitute greener sequestering agents. These greener alternatives have a good capacity to form complexes and a low nitrogen content in order to replace conventional chelates and reduce the load of nitrogen. Furthermore, they are biodegradable either readily or at least inherently. Such alternate greener chelates are also highly suitable to advance environmental protection policies.

GLDA, derived from the natural raw material L-glutamic acid, produced by Akzo Nobel and Showa Denko as a substitute for phosphate NTA, and EDTA, in particular for cleaning applications, are examples of biodegradable sequestering agents. BASF produces Methylglycine N, N-diacetic acid (MGDA), which is a multi-purpose chelating agent and is readily biodegradable. Environmentally sustainable sequestering agents will continue to grow as these products are more biodegradable and can replace conventional amino polycarboxylates, such as EDTA and NTA, or phosphate makers, such as sodium tripolyphosphate, in dishwashing instead.

Growing Demand for Phosphonates from Various End-use Industry to Aid the Market

Phosphonates are used as sequestering agents and scale inhibitors in various technical and industrial applications. Phosphonates have properties that separate them from other sequestering agents and have a major effect on the environment. The association of phosphonates with surfaces is very powerful, leading to considerable removal from technical and natural systems. Little or no remobilization of metals is required due to this effective adsorption. No biodegradation of phosphonates during water treatment is detected. Increasingly, phosphonates are used in detergents, treatment and cleaning agents (DCC) as complexing agents, and in industrial chemicals. 2 phosphonobutane-1, 2, 4-tricarboxylic acid (PBTC), 1-hydroxyethylidene (1,1 diphosphonic acid) (HEDP), aminotris (methylphosphonic acid) (ATMP), ethylenediaminetetra (methylene phosphonic acid) (EDTMP) and diethylenetriaminepenta (methylene phosphonic acid)- (methylene phosphonic acid) (DTPMP) are the phosphonates most widely found in DCC applications. In a growing number of industrial and household uses, including cooling water systems, oil processing, the garment industry, and detergents, phosphonates are used. During wastewater treatment, phosphonates are not biodegraded but are dissolved by adsorption into sludge instead.


Eco-toxicological Risks of EDTA Likely to Hamper the Market

For metals, aminopolycarboxylates (APCs), chelators (such as EDTA and NTA), and phosphonates have potent chelation effects. Many of these molecules are not readily biodegradable. The dissolution of heavy metals from sediments and soils could be caused by the penetration of these chelates into the atmosphere, thus mobilizing them, leading to elevated levels of metals, with the exception of phosphonates that do not mobilize toxic metals. Because of their high water solubility and low biodegradability, these chelates survive in the environment (except NTA). It has been confirmed that in some industrial and municipal wastewater treatment facilities in the US, 800 μg/L of EDTA has been detected, and up to 12 mg/L in European water bodies. EDTA is now on Europe's priority list of risk management drugs.

There is 10% nitrogen in ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), which could damage marine species. In comparison, most typical sequestering agents (APCs and phosphonates) are extracted from petroleum. Therefore, due to the ongoing fears about their toxicity and harmful environmental effects, the use of conventional APC chelators is diminishing. Another problem is that most of these common chelates are made from poisonous substances, such as cyanide.


By Product Type Analysis

Sodium Gluconate Segment to Hold a Significant Share in the Global Market

By product type, the chelating agents market is segmented into sodium gluconate, organophosphonates, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) & hydroxyethylethylenediaminetriacetic acid (HEDTA), ethylenediamine disuccinic acid (EDDS), glutamic acid-n, n-diacetic acid (GLDA), iminodisuccinic acid (IDS) & methylglycinediacetic acid (MGDA), nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA), and glucoheptonates. The sodium gluconate segment held the major market share in 2019. Excellent chelating ability, especially in alkaline and condensed alkaline solutions, is the outstanding property of sodium gluconate. With calcium, iron, copper, aluminum, and other heavy metals, it forms stable chelates, surpassing all other agents, such as EDTA, NTA, and similar compounds, in this respect.

The EDDS, GLDA, IDS & MGDA segments are expected to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period. GDLA is a safe and readily biodegradable chelating agent that can be used, especially in cleaning applications, as an alternative to NTA, EDTA, phosphates, and phosphonates. Over a wide pH spectrum, it has high solubility. It is soluble in acids and in other solvents, which are not aqueous. MGDA can be used as an alternative for NTA, EDTA, phosphates, and phosphonates, especially in short-contact time-cleaning applications. Sodium iminodisuccinate is an environmentally benign chelator and is used for washing, photography, agriculture, and water softening.

By Application Analysis

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Pulp & Paper Segment to Generate High Revenue Backed by Growing Demand for Graphic and Tissue Papers

In terms of application, the market is segmented into pulp & paper, household, institutional & industrial cleaning products, chemical processing, agrochemicals, water treatment, photo application, consumer products, textiles, metals, and others. The pulp & paper segment constituted the primary market share. Lower bleaching costs can be attained from the use of these agents. This is accomplished by enhanced pulp bleach ability and/or improved regulation of catalyzed bleach oxidation reactions of metal ions. Sequestering agents are used in pulp bleaching operations to extract and deactivate metal ions. The growth of the market is expected to increase due to the growing demand for graphic and tissue papers.

The household, institutional & industrial cleaning products segment is anticipated to expand at a rapid pace. Sequestering agents are good builders. In both household and industrial sanitation, they improve the cleaning capacity of cleaners and detergents. These agents are able to eliminate the scale, smooth the water, and improve the action of hygienic washing. With metal ions, these agents have a special property; they may form soluble complexes. This feature helps them remove dirt and scale, soften the water, and improve the hygienic action of washing.


Asia Pacific Chelating Agents Market Size, 2019 (USD Million)

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The market size in Asia Pacific stood at USD 1,969.5 million in 2019. Asia Pacific dominated the chelating agents market share and is likely to maintain its position during the forecast period. The key drivers of the market in the region are population growth, urbanization, and industrialization. It is expected that developing economies, including India, China, Indonesia, and others, are likely to display substantial improvements in their water treatment processes and cleaning and detergent applications due to rising populations and increasing awareness. The rising preference for liquid detergents over powder detergents due to improved performance is the other important factor driving the growth of the surfactants industry in the region, which, in turn, will fuel the market.

In Europe, the demand for biodegradable sequestering agents is expected to expand rapidly on account of growing public awareness about environmental contamination caused by the use of non-biodegradable agents in applications such as dishwasher detergents. The opportunities provided by the green economy are being used by the region’s pulp & paper industry. Thus, lucrative growth in the pulp & paper industry will boost the chelating agents market growth.

In North America, growing demand for sequestering agents in oilfield applications and industrial cleaning systems is likely to drive the market. The growth of end-use industries, such as pharmaceuticals, water treatment, and surfactants, is projected to contribute to the growth of the regional market.

There are unique comparative advantages to Latin American in agriculture, such as ample land resources, fertile soils, sufficient water supply, and desirable climate conditions. Brazil is one of the rapidly growing economies and one of the world's major markets for crop protection. The rapid growth of the country's crop protection industry is due to an increase in the demand for maize and soybeans from exports, which has boosted the use of agrochemicals. The growing demand for agrochemicals in the region is likely to drive the market. In agriculture, metallic chelates are commonly used as micronutrient fertilizers to deliver iron, manganese, zinc, and copper to plants. EDTA, DTPA, and EDDHA are the most common chelates used in agriculture.

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The demand for water & wastewater treatment in the Middle East & Africa is expected to expand rapidly, largely due to the stringent environmental restrictions imposed by government agencies in response to the increasing regional water conservation concerns. In addition, rapid industrialization in emerging economies, such as the UAE and Qatar, where factories are keen to implement processes for water & wastewater treatment in line with the requirements for industrial sewage disposal. The rising stringent regulations regarding water protection are projected to drive the demand for chelating agents in the region.


Key Companies to Adopt Strategies to Enlarge Market Share

AkzoNobel N.V., BASF SE, Dow, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, NIPPON SHOKUBAI CO., LTD., Nouryon, and Hexion are some of the key players in the market. In 2019, the global market was fragmented. Capacity expansion and mergers & acquisitions are a few of the main tactics adopted by major companies.

The market continues to be fragmented and the competitive environment is very strong, with the involvement of large players as well as small & medium players. Factors such as the simple availability of raw materials and the advent of silybin as a new iron-chelating agent are likely to create lucrative opportunities for manufacturers.


  • Akzo Nobel N.V. (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

  • ADM (Illinois, U.S)

  • BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany)

  • Dow Chemical Company (Michigan, U.S)

  • Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (Tokyo, Japan)

  • Kemira (Helsinki, Finland)

  • Shandong IRO Chelating Chemical Co., Ltd. (Shandong, China)

  • NIPPON SHOKUBAI CO., LTD. (Osaka, Japan)

  • Nouryon (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

  • Ascend Performance Materials (Houston, U.S)

  • Hexion (Ohio, U.S)

  • Ava Chemicals Private Limited (Maharashtra, India)

  • Tosoh Corporation (Tokyo, Japan)

  • Bozzetto Group (Filago, Italy)

  • Zhonglan Industry Co., Ltd. (Shandong, China)

  • Other Key Players


  • In June 2021, Oncodesign, a biopharma group dedicated in precision medicine announced a strategic collaboration with Covalab, a bespoke antibodies developer, CheMatech, European leader in synthesis and supply of chelating agents, and ABX-CRO, an oncology-related pharma company, to develop and launch Drive-MRT (Molecular RadioTherapy) that offer incorporation of the entire Theranostics

  • In January 2021, Recodati Rare Diseases, the manufacturer of Chemet (succimer), an orally active, heavy metal chelating agent used in lead poisoning treatment for a pediatric patient, announced a short-term shortage of the capsule.

  • In May 2021, The U.S. FDA expanded the label of iron-binding oral treatment capsule, Ferripox. Ferripox is a lab-made, orally consumed iron-chelating agent that reduces Fe level by entering cells and removing toxic metal from organ tissues and fluids.

  • In January 2021, LBB Specialties acquired the business of Custom Chemical Services. CCS served the personal care industry with a range of specialty chemicals such as emollients, emulsifiers, UV filters, chelating agents, thickeners, silicones, vitamins and surfactants. With this acquisition, LLB acquired the product portfolio of CCS and expanded its offerings.


An Infographic Representation of Chelating Agents Market

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The chelating agents market report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on crucial aspects, such as competitive landscape, products, and product types. The report also offers insights into market trends and highlights vital industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses various factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years.

This report includes historical data & forecasts revenue growth at the global, regional, and country levels, and analyzes the latest market dynamics and opportunities in the industry.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD Million) and Volume (Tons)


  Product Type; Application; and Geography

By Product Type

  • Sodium Gluconate

  • Organophosphonates



  • Nitrilotriacetic Acid (NTA)

  • Glucoheptonates

By Application

  • Pulp & Paper

  • Household, Institutional & Industrial Cleaning Product

  • Chemical Processing

  • Agrochemicals

  • Water Treatment

  • Photo Application

  • Consumer Product

  • Textile

  • Metal

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America

    • By Product Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • The U.S. (By Application)

      • Canada (By Application)

  • Europe

    • By Product Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • Germany (By Application)

      • The UK (By Application)

      • France (By Application)

      • Italy (By Application)

      • Spain (By Application)

      • Russia & CIS (By Application)

      • Rest of Europe (By Application)

  • Asia Pacific

    • By Product Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • China (By Application)

      • Japan (By Application)

      • India (By Application)

      • ASEAN (By Application)

      • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Application)

  • Latin America

    • By Product Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • Brazil (By Application)

      • Mexico (By Application)

      • Rest of Latin America (By Application)

  • The Middle East & Africa

    • By Product Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • GCC (By Application)

      • South Africa (By Application)

      • Rest of the Middle East & Africa (By Application)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 4,757.1 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 6,396.9 million by 2027.

In 2019, the Asia Pacific market value stood at USD 1,969.5 million.

Growing at a CAGR of 4.4%, the market will exhibit modest growth in the forecast period (2020-2027).

The pulp & paper segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.

The rising demand for green sequestering agents is the key factor driving the market.

AkzoNobel N.V., BASF SE, Dow, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, NIPPON SHOKUBAI CO., LTD., Nouryon, and Hexion are the major players in the global market.

Asia Pacific dominated the market share in 2019.

The increasing demand for chelators from the cosmetic industry is anticipated to boost the market

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