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catabolism

catabolism (kətăb´əlĬz´əm), subdivision of metabolism involving all degradative chemical reactions in the living cell. Large polymeric molecules such as polysaccharides, nucleic acids, and proteins are first split into their constituent monomeric units, such as amino acids, after which the monomers themselves can be broken down into such simple cellular metabolites as lactic acid, acetic acid, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and urea. The first set of reactions provides the cell with monomers with which it can construct new polymeric molecules. The second set of reactions usually involves the process of oxidation and is accompanied by a release of chemical free energy, not all of which is lost as heat, but is partially conserved through the coupled synthesis of adenosine triphosphate. The hydrolysis of this compound is subsequently used to drive almost every energy-requiring reaction in the cell. Thus catabolism also provides the source of chemical energy necessary for the maintenance of the living cell.

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catabolism

catabolism Those pathways of metabolism concerned with the breakdown and oxidation of fuels and hence provision of metabolic energy. People who are undernourished or suffering from cachexia are sometimes said to be in a catabolic state, in that they are catabolizing their body tissues, without replacing them.

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catabolism

catabolism (kă-tab-ŏl-izm) n. the chemical decomposition of complex substances by the body to form simpler ones, accompanied by the release of energy. See also metabolism.
catabolic (kat-ă-bol-ik) adj.

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catabolism

catabolism The metabolic breakdown of large molecules in living organisms to smaller ones, with the release of energy. Respiration is an example of a catabolic series of reactions. See metabolism. Compare anabolism.

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catabolism

catabolism The part of cellular metabolism that encompasses the reactions that yield energy through the degradation of substrate molecules.

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catabolism

catabolism The part of cellular metabolism that encompasses the reactions that yield energy through the degradation of food molecules.

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catabolism

catabolism See metabolism

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catabolism

catabolism See METABOLISM.

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