Fatty acid catabolism is the mechanism by which the body accesses energy stored as triglycerides.
- 17.1: Digestion, Mobilization, and Transport of Fats
- In this chapter we will discuss the breakdown of fats to produce useful energy for biosynthesis and for ATP production.
- 17.2: Oxidation of Fatty Acids
- Fatty acids, esterified to glycerol in triacylglycerols, are the major source of stored energy in organisms. As we burn fossil fuels to produce energy to drive our society, so can we "burn" fatty acids to produce energy for heat, to drive biosynthetic reactions and to do work. As discussed in an earlier chapter, fatty acids are highly reduced so their oxidation by dioxygen is highly favored both enthalpically (exothermic reaction) and entropically.
Thumbnail: Idealized representation of a molecule of a typical triglyceride, the main type of fat. Note the three fatty acid chains attached to the central glycerol portion of the molecule. (Public Domain; Benjah-bmm27 via Wikipedia)