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Catabolism (Greek kata = downward + ballein = to throw) is the set of metabolic pathways that breaks down molecules into smaller units to release energy. In catabolism, large molecules such as polysaccharides, lipids, nucleic acids and proteins are broken down into smaller units such as monosaccharides, fatty acids, nucleotides, and amino acids, respectively. As molecules such as polysaccharides, proteins, and nucleic acids are made from long chains of these small monomer units (mono = one + mer = part), the large molecules are called polymers (poly = many).
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