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As we have just seen, cells require a constant supply of energy to generate and maintain the biological order that keeps them alive. This energy is derived from the chemical bond energy in food molecules, which thereby serve as fuel for cells.Sugars are particularly important fuel molecules, and they are oxidized in small steps to carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (Figure 2-69). In this section we trace the major steps in the breakdown, or catabolism, of sugars and show how they produce ATP, NADH, and other activated carrier molecules in animal cells. We concentrate on glucose breakdown, since it dominates energy production in most animal cells. A very similar pathway also operates in plants, fungi, and many bacteria. Other molecules, such as fatty acids and proteins, can also serve as energy sources when they are funneled through appropriate enzymatic pathways =)
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