Preliminary to a discussion of the function of chelates in nutrition, it may be of interest to consider the series of events which led the authors to recognize that chelating agents may be important in mineral nutrition. In plant nutrition, chelates have been used extensively to improve the availability of certain trace elements. A variety of chelated minerals is commercially available to improve mineral utilization by plants in certain types of soils. It seemed logical to test the mineral components of soybean meal for growth and antiperotic activity by ashing soybean meal for a feeding test. However, the author's attempts to ash the needed amounts of soybean meal in cast-iron crucibles over gas burners in a laboratory hood created such an unusual odor throughout the building that the campus fire department dutifully paid us a cali. Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid or citric acid effectively removed Zn from the isolated soybean protein and brought it into solution.