In biochemistry, a metabolite is an intermediate or end product of metabolism. The term metabolite is usually used for small molecules. Metabolites have various functions, including fuel, structure, signaling, stimulatory and inhibitory effects on enzymes, catalytic activity of their own (usually as a cofactor to an enzyme), defense, and interactions with other organisms (e.g. pigments, odorants, and pheromones).
Some antibiotics use primary metabolites as precursors, such as actinomycin, which is created from the primary metabolite tryptophan. Some sugars are metabolites, such as fructose or glucose, which are both present in the metabolic pathways.
Examples of primary metabolites produced by industrial microbiology include:
|Amino acids||Glutamic acid, aspartic acid|
|Nucleotides||5' guanylic acid|
|Organic acids||Acetic acid, lactic acid|
Metabolites from chemical compounds, whether inherent or pharmaceutical, form as part of the natural biochemical process of degrading and eliminating the compounds. The rate of degradation of a compound is an important determinant of the duration and intensity of its action. Profiling metabolites of pharmaceutical compounds, drug metabolism, is an important part of drug discovery, leading to an understanding of any undesirable side effects.
metabolite [...] Any product of metabolism.