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katabolismKatabolismus (ger.)

  • That phase of the metabolism of living bodies which consists in the breaking down of complex organic compounds into simpler ones; destructive metabolism. (OED 2011)
    We may picture to ourselves this total change which we denote by the term ›metabolism‹ as consisting on the one hand of a downward series of changes (katabolic changes), a stair of many steps, in which more complex bodies are broken down with the setting free of energy into simpler and simpler waste bodies, and on the other hand of an upward series of changes (anabolic changes), also a stair of many steps, by which the dead food, of varying simplicity or complexity, is, with the further assumption of energy, built up into more and more complex bodies [...]
    Destructive Metabolism (Katabolism)

    Foster, M. (1885). Physiology. In: Encyclopaedia Britannica (9th ed.), vol. 19, 8-64: 13; 50.


    metabolism includes the two opposite processes of destruction and construc- tion, or as they may be called of katabolism and anabolism.

    Gaskell, W.H. (1886). On the structure, distribution and function of the nerves which innervate the visceral and vascular systems. J. Physiol. 7, 1-80: 46.


    wherever destructive metabolism, katabolism, is going on, heat is being set free.

    Foster, M. (1889). A Text Book of Physiology (5th ed.): 807 (§ 530).