In order for polysaccharides, lipids, and proteins to be used as energy sources, they are first hydrolyzed to release their respective subunits. These are then converted to the appropriate precursor metabolites so they can enter a central metabolic pathway.

■ Why do cells secrete hydrolytic enzymes?

■ Explain the process used to degrade fatty acids.

■ How would cellulose-degrading bacteria in the rumen of a cow benefit the animal?

6.7 Chemolithotrophs

Prokaryotes as a group are unique in their ability to use reduced inorganic chemicals such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and ammonia (NH3) as a source of energy. Note that these are the very compounds produced as a result of anaerobic respiration, when inorganic molecules such as sulfate and nitrate serve as terminal

154 Chapter 6 Metabolism: Fueling Cell Growth

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