Metabolites are the intermediates and products of metabolism. The term metabolite is usually restricted to small molecules. A primary metabolite is directly involved in normal growth, development, and reproduction. Alcohol is an example of a primary metabolite produced in large-scale by industrial microbiology. A secondary metabolite is not directly involved in those processes, but usually has an important ecological function. Examples include antibiotics and pigments. Some antibiotics use primary metabolites as precursors, such as actinomycin which is created from the primary metabolite, tryptophan.

Examples of primary metabolites produced by industrial microbiology:[1]

Class Example
Alcohol Ethanol
Amino acids Glutamic acid, Aspartic acid
Nucleotides 5' guanylic acid
Antioxidants Isoasorbic acid
Organic acids Acetic acid, Lactic acid
Polyols Glycerol
Vitamins B2

The metabolome forms a large network of metabolic reactions, where outputs from one enzymatic chemical reaction are inputs to other chemical reactions.

Metabolites from chemical compounds, whether inherent or pharmaceutical, are formed as part of the natural biochemical process of degrading and eliminating the compounds. The rate of degradation of a compound is an important determinant of the duration and intensity of its action. Profiling metabolites of pharmaceutical compounds, drug metabolism, is an important part of drug discovery, leading to an understanding of any undesirable side effects.


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  • métabolite — [ metabɔlit ] n. m. • 1904; de métabolisme ♦ Physiol. Toute substance organique qui participe aux processus du métabolisme, ou qui est formée dans l organisme au cours des transformations métaboliques. Métabolite essentiel, qui ne peut être… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Metabolite — Métabolite Un métabolite est le produit de la transformation d une substance de l organisme. Métabolites primaires Les métabolites primaires sont des molécules présentes dans toutes les cellules de l organisme et indispensables à sa vie. Ils sont …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Metabolite — Me*tab o*lite, n. (Physiol Chem.) A product of metabolism; a substance produced by metabolic action, as urea. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • metabolite — metabolite. См. метаболит. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • metabolite — [mə tab′ə līt΄] n. any substance produced by or taking part in metabolism …   English World dictionary

  • Métabolite — Un métabolite est un composé organique intermédiaire ou issu du métabolisme. On réserve ce terme en général aux petites molécules et aux monomères, par opposition aux macromolécules. Ainsi, le glucose est un métabolite, contrairement au glycogène …   Wikipédia en Français

  • metabolite — metabolitai statusas T sritis ekologija ir aplinkotyra apibrėžtis Organizmo medžiagų apykaitos produktai – medžiagos, kurios susidaro organizmų ląstelėse, audiniuose ir organuose dėl medžiagų apykaitos ir vėl įsitraukia į asimiliacijos ir… …   Ekologijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • metabolite — Any substance involved in metabolism (the chemical changes that take place in a cell or organism to make the energy and basic materials important in life processes). Metabolite is often used to describe the products left after a drug is used by… …   English dictionary of cancer terms

  • metabolite — noun Date: 1877 1. a product of metabolism 2. a substance essential to the metabolism of a particular organism or to a particular metabolic process …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Metabolite — Der Metabolit (gr. μεταβολίτης metabolítes „der Umgewandelte“, Plural: Metaboliten) ist ein Zwischenprodukt (Intermediat) in einem, meist biochemischen, Stoffwechselvorgang. Stoffwechselwege bestehen aus Serien enzymatischer Umsetzungen, die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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