WHAT IS IT?
In our body, in animals, plants and microorganisms, substances are constantly being broken down and built up. These biochemical processes are called metabolism.
WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?
Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are degraded and broken down into simple building blocks (catabolism). This also releases energy that can be used for other processes.
All vital substances can be produced from simple components (anabolism). For example, the sugar glucose is assembled into long chains that serve as energy stores.
Harmful toxins are filtered out and rendered harmless. To do this, they are converted into harmless substances – for example in our liver – and then excreted.
IT IS COMPLICATED
Metabolic processes are often interlinked. They take numerous intermediate steps. Special proteins, the enzymes, control and accelerate these processes.
Viruses do not have any metabolism. They are therefore not considered to be alive. In order to reproduce, they need living beings as production facilities.
WHAT IS JÜLICH DOING?
- Investigating metabolic processes in plants and bacteria
- Constructing bacteria with tailored metabolisms to produce bioproducts for industry and medicine
- Researching new plants
Illustrations: Diane Köhne