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The sum of chemical reactions that occur within an organism

metabolic pathway

A series of chemical reactions that either builds a complex molecule (anabolic pathway) or breaks down a complex molecule into simpler compounds (catabolic pathways)

catabolic pathway

a metabolic process that breaks down complex molecules into simpler compounds; example = cellular respiration because it breaks glucose into carbon dioxide and water; the energy that is stored becomes available to do work within the cell

anabolic pathway

A metabolic pathway that consumes energy to synthesize a complex molecule from simpler compounds.


Study of how energy flows through organisms

First law of thermodynamics

energy is conserved. It is neither created nor destroyed underneath normal conditions.

second law of thermodynamics

Every energy transfer or transformation increases the entropy of the universe

open systems

systems that interact with their environment.

closed systems

systems that are not influenced by and do not interact with their environment.


A quantitative measure of disorder or randomness, symbolized by S.

spontaneous processes

When a process can occur on its own without outside help (an input of energy), it increases the entropy of the universe. It doesn't mean quickly.

non-spontaneous processes

A process that requires a continuous input of energy in order to occur.

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