Food provides carbon skeletons for biosynthesis

Every animal requires certain basic organic molecules that it cannot synthesize for itself, but needs as building blocks for its own complex organic molecules (see Chapter 7). An example of such a required carbon skeleton is the acetyl group (Figure 50.4). Animals cannot make acetyl groups from carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen molecules; they must obtain acetyl groups by metabolizing carbohydrates, fats, or proteins obtained by eating other organisms.

Acetyl groups can be derived from the metabolism of almost any food; they are unlikely ever to be in short supply

The acetyl group is present in virtually all of the foods animals ingest.

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