Share this entry

Share this page

catabolism

Syllabification: ca·tab·o·lism
Pronunciation: /kəˈtabəˌlizəm
 
/

Definition of catabolism in English:

noun

Biology
The breakdown of complex molecules in living organisms to form simpler ones, together with the release of energy; destructive metabolism.
Example sentences
  • The various reactions which involve the synthesis of complex molecules can be grouped under the heading of anabolism, whereas the breakdown of complex molecules is known as catabolism.
  • During normal catabolism, protease enzymes break down carboxylase enzymes and reclaim the associated amino acids and biocytin for recycling.
  • Muscle catabolism is a hallmark of sepsis and results from accelerated breakdown of myofibrillar proteins, such as actin and myosin.

Origin

late 19th century: from Greek katabolē 'throwing down', from kata- 'down' + ballein 'to throw'.

Derivatives

catabolic

1
Pronunciation: /ˌkatəˈbälik/
adjective
Example sentences
  • There are thus a number of different requirements for mitochondrial metabolism, ranging from biosynthesis to catabolic processes that may or may not result in ATP synthesis.
  • During catabolic stress intracellular glutamine levels can drop more than 50 percent, and it is under these circumstances that supplemental glutamine becomes necessary.
  • Alanine and glutamine account for about 80% of the amino acids released from skeletal muscle during catabolic periods such as intense training or injury.

catabolize

2
verb
Example sentences
  • Over time, your body begins to catabolize muscle tissue, converting it to glucose for energy.
  • As a result, a bird with large glycogen stores may catabolize less protein to maintain blood glucose levels during migration than a bird with small glycogen reserves.
  • However, birds may preferentially catabolize assimilation organs to avoid catabolizing flight muscles that could impair flying ability.

Definition of catabolism in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day cumbersome
Pronunciation: ˈkʌmbəs(ə)m
adjective
large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry…