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What is the importance of Metabolic Pathways?

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Lucy Lynn-Evans What is the importance of Metabolic Pathways? The chemical reactions that occur within organisms are collectively known as a metabolism. There are two subcategories of metabolism; anabolism, the building up of complex organic molecules from simpler precursors and the other is catabolism, the breakdown of complex substances into simpler molecules, often accompanied by the release of energy. The metabolism is organised by metabolic pathways. This is the transformation of one molecule into another, and then into another and another in sequence. A metabolic pathway is controlled by negative feedback which is extremely efficient as when enough of the product is made, the product inhibits the enzyme which causes the first transformation to occur, thus the pathway slows down or stops completely and the amount of product decreases. ...read more.


Each transformation within the pathway is catalysed by a specific enzyme, for example insulin converts glucose to glycogen, and each enzyme is a point of control of the overall pathway. There are multiple metabolic pathways occurring in the body all the time. One of the most important is that of respiration. Respiration is the production of free energy in all living cells, more specifically cellular respiration is a complex metabolic pathway divided into three stages: glycolisis, the Krebs cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. This is a vital pathway as all movements and reactions that take place in living organisms require energy (ATP which is produced here). When we eat all our food must be digested and broken down; there are a number of pathways that enable this to happen. ...read more.


The stress of the very low glucose levels stimulates the adrenal cortex to release the hormone cortisol, which is responsible for the protein breakdown. In the end, when the fat storage is depleted, the body has no choice but to break down protein at a much higher rate to provide energy. Carbon dioxide is usually thought of as an end product of carbohydrate, protein, and fat deprivation in aerobic organisms. Metabolic pathways are vital to living beings. They enable many efficient reactions to occur and allow for the quick breakdown or synthesising of many important molecules the body needs. Without complex path ways the metabolism would be in chaos as equilibrium would be frequently reached and very little product would be produced. Exercise, food, and environmental temperature influence metabolism. Basal metabolism is the caloric expenditure of an organism at rest; it represents the minimum amount of energy required to maintain life at normal body temperature. ...read more.

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