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The addition of chelating agent to drinking-water samples reduces die-off, due to the toxic effect of metal ions, of bacteria such as Aeromonas. The use of ethylenediaminetetraaceticacid (EDTA) is undesirable since it is a highly persistent chemical which contributes to environmental pollution. This study shows that the less persistent nitrilotriaceticacid (NTA) is a suitable alternative. No significant differences (P < 0.001) were detected between EDTA and NTA in protecting bacteria.