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Photonics Dictionary

metabolite

A metabolite is any small molecule that is a product of metabolism, the chemical processes that occur within living organisms to maintain life. Metabolites can include a wide variety of molecules, such as sugars, amino acids, lipids, nucleotides, vitamins, hormones, and waste products.

Metabolism involves the conversion of nutrients into energy and building blocks for cellular structures and molecules. Metabolites are generated as intermediates or end products of these metabolic pathways. They can be produced through various biochemical reactions, including synthesis (anabolic processes) and breakdown (catabolic processes) reactions.

Metabolites play critical roles in cellular function and regulation. They serve as substrates or cofactors for enzymatic reactions, regulate gene expression and signal transduction pathways, and contribute to the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Metabolites also serve as biomarkers for various physiological and pathological states, providing valuable information about the health and function of organisms.

Metabolomics is the study of metabolites within biological systems, aiming to characterize and quantify the complete set of metabolites present in cells, tissues, or organisms under specific conditions. By analyzing metabolite profiles, researchers can gain insights into metabolic pathways, identify biomarkers of disease, and understand the effects of environmental factors, diet, drugs, and genetic variations on metabolism.

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