Q:

What happens to pyruvic acid before it enters the citric acid cycle?

A:

Under aerobic conditions, glycolysis produces pyruvic acid and then converts to acetyl coenzyme A to enter the citric acid cycle. Acetyl coenzyme A links glycolysis and the citric acid cycle together.

The conversion of pyruvic acid to acetyl coenzyme A is known as the oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvic acid. This reaction involves NAD+ removing two hydrogen molecules and two electrons from pyruvic acid. The result is acetyl coenzyme A, NADH, H+ and CO2. These products go into the citric acid cycle to produce more CO2 and ATP. The citric acid cycle is also known as the Kreb’s cycle and the TCA cycle.

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