The Decomposition of Fatty Acids

Explain that the decomposition of fatty acids occurs by oxidative removal of 2-carbon fragments and identify the 2-carbon fragments as part of acetyl-CoA

  • Fatty acids are broken down, with acetyl-CoA as the end product of their oxidation.
  • Fatty acid oxidation occurs through the repeated removal of a 2-carbon fragment, each time leaving a fatty acid with two less carbons in its chain. This continues until the entire chain is broken down.
  • Since naturally occurring fatty acids have even numbers of carbons, the only product will be acetyl-CoA.
  • The 2-carbon fragments end up in the acetyl part CH3CO, which is attached through Sulfur to the rest of the Coenzyme A molecule.