The net result of these two closely linked pathways is the oxidation of nutrients to produce usable energy in the form of ATP.

This step proceeds twice for every molecule of glucose metabolized (remember: there are two pyruvate molecules produced at the end of glycolysis); thus, two of the six carbons will have been removed at the end of both of these steps. Each turn of the cycle forms one GTP or ATP as well as three NADH molecules and one FADH2 molecule, which will be used in further steps of cellular respiration to produce ATP for the cell. In plants and animals (eukaryotes), these reactions take place in the matrix of the mitochondria of the cell as part of cellular respiration. The last step in the citric acid cycle regenerates oxaloacetate by oxidizing malate. Each step in the cycle is catalyzed by a specific enzyme. The citric acid cycle, however, occurs in the matrix of cell mitochondria.

CoA binds the succinyl group to form succinyl CoA. Theoretically there are several alternatives to the TCA cycle, but the TCA cycle appears to be the most efficient. A molecule of CO2 is removed and NAD+ is reduced to NADH + H+ in the process. The final product from the removal of CoA from succinyl CoA is succinate. Acetyl CoA is then used in the first step of the citric acid cycle. It is a series of chemical reactions that takes place in the cell that breaks down food molecules into carbon dioxide, water, and energy. Like the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl CoA, the citric acid cycle takes place in the matrix of the mitochondria. Its central importance to many biochemical pathways suggests that it was one of the earliest established components of cellular metabolism; it may have originated abiogenically. The citric acid cycle is a key component of the metabolic pathway by which all aerobic organisms generate energy. In order for food to enter the citric acid cycle, it must be broken into acetyl groups, (CH3CO). The rate of this reaction is controlled by negative feedback and the amount of ATP available. One GTP or ATP is also made in each cycle. The result of this step is a two-carbon hydroxyethyl group bound to the enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase; the lost carbon dioxide is the first of the six carbons from the original glucose molecule to be removed. The hydroxyethyl group is oxidized to an acetyl group, and the electrons are picked up by NAD+, forming NADH (the reduced form of NAD+). There are two forms of the enzyme, called isoenzymes, for this step, depending upon the type of animal tissue in which they are found. Regina Bailey is a board-certified registered nurse, science writer and educator.

itric acid is also known as 2-hydroxypropane-1,2,3-tricarboxylic acid. It's possible the cycle evolved more than one time. The overall reaction for the citric acid cycle is: Acetyl-CoA + 3 NAD+ + Q + GDP + Pi + 2 H2O → CoA-SH + 3 NADH + 3 H+ + QH2 + GTP + 2 CO2, where Q is ubiquinone and Pi is inorganic phosphate. This energy is used in substrate-level phosphorylation (during the conversion of the succinyl group to succinate) to form either guanine triphosphate (GTP) or ATP. In eukaryotic cells, the citric acid cycle uses one molecule of acetyl CoA to generate 1 ATP, 3 NADH, 1 FADH2, 2 CO2, and 3 H+. The citric acid cycle consumes acetate (in the form of acetyl-CoA) and water, reduces NAD+ to NADH, and produces carbon dioxide. Citrate loses one water molecule and gains another as citrate is converted into its isomer, isocitrate. Components of the TCA cycle were derived from anaerobic bacteria, and the TCA cycle itself may have evolved more than once. The enzyme-bound acetyl group is transferred to CoA, producing a molecule of acetyl CoA. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is reduced to NADH + H+ in the process.

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