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In biochemistry and metabolism, beta-oxidation is the catabolic process by which fatty acid molecules are broken down in the cytosol in prokaryotes and in the mitochondria in eukaryotes to generate acetyl-CoA, which enters the citric acid cycle, and NADH and FADH2, which are co-enzymes used in the electron transport chain. It is named as such because the beta carbon of the fatty acid undergoes oxidation to a carbonyl group. Beta-oxidation is primarily facilitated by the mitochondrial trifunctional protein, an enzyme complex associated with the inner mitochondrial membrane, although some fatty acids are oxidized in peroxisomes.
Fatty acid catabolism consists of:
Activation and membrane transport of free fatty acids by binding to coenzyme A.
Oxidation of the beta carbon to a carbonyl group.
Cleavage of two-carbon segments resulting in acetyl-CoA.
Oxidation of acetyl-CoA to carbon dioxide in the citric acid cycle.
Electron transfer from electron carriers to the electron transport chain in oxidative phosphorylation.
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