Oxidation of Pyruvate and the Citric Acid Cycle

Acetyl CoA to CO2

In the presence of oxygen, acetyl CoA delivers its acetyl (2C) group to a four-carbon molecule, oxaloacetate, to form citrate, a six-carbon molecule with three carboxyl groups; this pathway will harvest the remainder of the extractable energy from what began as a glucose molecule and release the remaining four CO2 molecules. This single pathway is called by different names: the citric acid cycle (for the first intermediate formed—citric acid, or citrate—when acetate joins to the oxaloacetate), the TCA cycle (because citric acid or citrate and isocitrate are tricarboxylic acids), and the Krebs cycle, after Hans Krebs, who first identified the steps in the pathway in the 1930s in pigeon flight muscles.