(1) The process involving a series of degradative chemical reactions that break down complex molecules into smaller units, usually releasing energy in the process
(2) A destructive type of metabolism
Metabolism pertains to all the chemical reactions involved in modifying a molecule into another. It may be categorized into two: catabolism and anabolism. Catabolism refers to the processes that involve a series of degradative chemical reactions that break down complex molecules into smaller units. It often release energy in the process. Thus, catabolism involves the destructive metabolic processes. In contrast, anabolism is the constructive metabolism since it involves the building up or the synthesis of complex molecules that end up in the construction of tissues and organs.
Examples of catabolism are the breaking down of complex molecules into smaller units. For instance, large molecules such as polysaccharides, nucleic acids and proteins are broken down into smaller units such as monosaccharides, nucleotides and amino acids, respectively.
Hormones are typically classified as either anabolic or catabolic based on their effect on a particular metabolic process.
Word origin: Greek katabole (“throwing down”), from kata (“down”) + ballein (“to throw”)
- destructive metabolism