The citric acid cycle is frequently described as the major pathway of aerobic catabolism, which means that it is an oxygen-dependent degradative process. However, none of the reactions of the cycle directly involve oxygen as a reactant. Why is the pathway oxygen dependent?

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Asked Dec 18, 2019
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The citric acid cycle is frequently described as the major pathway of aerobic catabolism, which means that it is an oxygen-dependent degradative process. However, none of the reactions of the cycle directly involve oxygen as a reactant. Why is the pathway oxygen dependent?

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Citric acid cycle is a part of the cellular respiration. Respiration involves three stages; Glycolysis, citric acid cycle (Krebs cycle), and oxidative phosphorylation (electron transport). Citric acid cycle starts after the glycolysis.

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Two pyruvate molecules are produced at the end of glycolysis and they are transported into mitochondria. Pyruvate enters in the next pathway, that is citric acid cycle but before entering in this pathway it must undergo in several changes. Oxidation of pyruvate: In the mitochondrial matrix the pyruvate molecule transformed into a two carbon acetyl group by the removal of a carbon dioxide molecule. Acetyl group is picked up by coenzyme A (CoA) and called as acetyl CoA. This acetyl CoA delivers acetyl group to the next pathway. Acetyl CoA to CO:: This process occurs in the presence of oxygen. In this process acetyl CoA delivers acetyl group to the oxaloacetate (4C molecule) to form citrate (6C molecule). Fomation of citrate from oxaloacetate is a step of citric acid cycle. So, the citric acid cycle indirectly requires oxygen that's why it is a oxygen dependent process.

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