Glycolysis (from glycose, an older term for glucose + -lysis degradation) is themetabolic pathway that converts glucose C6H12O6, into pyruvate, CH3COCOO− + H+. The free energy released in this process is used to form the high-energy compounds ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and NADH (reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide).
Glycolysis does not require or consume oxygen. The terms "aerobic glycolysis" and "anaerobic glycolysis" refer to glycolysis in the presence or absence of oxygen, respectively.
Glycolysis is a determined sequence of ten enzyme-catalyzed reactions. The intermediates provide entry points to glycolysis. For example, most monosaccharides, such as fructose and galactose, can be converted to one of these intermediates. The intermediates may also be directly useful. For example, the intermediate dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP) is a source of the glycerol that combines with fatty acids to form fat.
Glycolysis occurs, with variations, in nearly all organisms, both aerobic andanaerobic. The wide occurrence of glycolysis indicates that it is one of the most ancient known metabolic pathways. It occurs in the cytosol of the cell.
The most common type of glycolysis is the Embden–Meyerhof–Parnas (EMP pathway), which was first discovered by Gustav Embden, Otto Meyerhof, and Jakub Karol Parnas. Glycolysis also refers to other pathways, such as the Entner–Doudoroff pathway and various heterofermentative and homofermentative pathways. However, the discussion here will be limited to the Embden–Meyerhof–Parnas pathway.
The entire glycolysis pathway can be separated into two phases:
- The Preparatory Phase – in which ATP is consumed and is hence also known as the investment phase
- The Pay Off Phase – in which ATP is produced.