Biochemical pathway.swf / Jalur biokimia.swf

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In biochemistry, metabolic pathways are series of chemical reactions occurring within a cell. In each pathway, a principal chemical is modified by a series of chemical reactions. Enzymes catalyze these reactions, and often require dietary minerals, vitamins, and other cofactors in order to function properly. Because of the many chemicals (a.k.a. "metabolites") that may be involved, metabolic pathways can be quite elaborate. In addition, numerous distinct pathways co-exist within a cell. This collection of pathways is called the metabolic network. Pathways are important to the maintenance of homeostasis within an organism. Catabolic (break-down) and Anabolic (synthesis) pathways often work interdependently to create new biomolecules as the final end-products.

A metabolic pathway involves the step-by-step modification of an initial molecule to form another product. The resulting product can be used in one of three ways:
  •     To be used immediately, as the end-product of a metabolic pathway
  •     To initiate another metabolic pathway, called a flux generating step
  •     To be stored by the cell

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