Methylglycin Diacetic or MGDA A Biodegradable Complexing Agent

Methylglycin diacetic (MGDA), patented by BASF and marketed under the brand name Trilon® M, is a strong complexing agent. MGDA is readily biodegradable in compliance with OECD standards and is used for enhancing the cleaning efficiency of laundry and dishwashing detergents as well as industrial and all-purpose cleaners. The CASIAU symposium held in Ascona in Switzerland provided the occasion for BASF to present both the performance and the ecological profile of their complexing agent Trilon® M. CASIAU is the acronym for “Complexing Agents between Science, Industry, Authorities and Users“. From March 11 to March 16, 2007 a group of experts including academic and industrial scientists, industry representatives, regulators and customers met to discuss complexing agents and their environmental impact.

“We have extensive, long-term toxicology studies, aquatic toxicology studies, and evidence of ready biodegradability proving that the application of MGDA is absolutely safe,” says Dr. Katrin Schwarz, responsible Supervisor for Product Stewardship at BASF. “No labeling as hazardous material is required, and thus, customers have the guarantee of being able to add this complexing agent to their formulations also in the long run.” According to Dr. Schwarz, an increasing number of manufacturers of detergents and cleaning agents will have reason to substitute conventional complexing agents such as NTA for MGDA as a result of this. There is, on this account, the possibility of being awarded with eco labels such as Nordic Swan and Falcon.

MGDA imparts a strong primary washing power to detergents. As for powder detergents, the BASF product is a high-performance substitute for zeolites. MGDA exhibits particularly high efficiency in pre-spotters – as used for example for cleaning shirt collars – and washing power enhancers. When applied for cleaning surfaces, MGDA effectively removes residues while treating the surface with care and conserving the environment. It can be effortlessly added into neutral, alkaline as well as acidic formulations.

Trilon® M, manufactured in a process originally developed by BASF, is commercially available in both solid and liquid form.

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