metabolite, organic compound that is a starting material in, an intermediate in, or an end product of metabolism. Starting materials are substances, usually small and of simple structure, absorbed by the organism as food. These include the vitamins and essential amino acids. They can be used to construct more complex molecules, or they can be broken down into simpler ones. Intermediary metabolites are by far the most common; they may be synthesized from other metabolites, perhaps used to make more complex substances, or broken down into simpler compounds, often with the release of chemical energy. For example, glucose, perhaps the single most important metabolite, can be synthesized in a process called gluconeogenesis, can be polymerized to form starch or glycogen, and can be broken down during glycolysis in order to obtain chemical energy. End products of metabolism are the final result of the breakdown of other metabolites and are excreted from the organism without further change; they usually cannot be used to synthesize other metabolites.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Quoted from the Columbia Encyclopedia: