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(1) The initial metabolic pathway of cellular respiration in which a series of reactions happening in the cytosol results in the conversion of a monosaccharide, often glucose, into pyruvic acid, and the concomitant production of a relatively small amount of high-energy molecules, such as ATP.

(2) The cellular degradation of the simple sugar, glucose, to yield ATP as an energy source.


The most common and well-known type of glycolysis is the Embden-meyerhof pathway, initially explained by Gustav Embden and Otto Meyerhof.

The term can be taken to include alternative pathways, such as the Entner-Doudoroff Pathway.

Word origin: Greek, glykys = sweet, referring to sugar + Iyein = to loosen.

Related forms: glycolytic (adjective).

Synonym: Embden-meyerhof pathway.
See also: Krebs Cycle, cellular respiration.