Glycolysis Harvests Chemical Energy by Oxidizing Glucose to Pyruvate


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Glycolysis Harvests Chemical Energy by Oxidizing Glucose to Pyruvate (Campbell Biology)

The word glycolysis means “sugar splitting,” and that is exactly what happens during this pathway. Glucose, a six-carbon sugar, is split into two three-carbon sugars. These smaller sugars are then oxidized and their remaining atoms rearranged to form two molecules of pyruvate. (Pyruvate is the ionized form of pyruvic acid.)

Source: Urry, Lisa A.. Campbell Biology (p. 170). Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.

Glycolysis can be divided into two phases: the energy investment phase and the energy payoff phase. During the energy investment phase, the cell actually spends ATP. This investment is repaid with interest during the energy payoff phase, when ATP is produced by substrate-level phosphorylation and NAD+ is reduced to NADH by electrons released from the oxidation of glucose. The net energy yield from glycolysis, per glucose molecule, is 2 ATP plus 2 NADH.

Source: Urry, Lisa A.. Campbell Biology (p. 170). Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.

All of the carbon originally present in glucose is accounted for in the two molecules of pyruvate; no carbon is released as CO2 during glycolysis. Glycolysis occurs whether or not O2 is present. However, if O2 is present, the chemical energy stored in pyruvate and NADH can be extracted by pyruvate oxidation, the citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation.


Urry, Lisa A.. Campbell Biology. Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.


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