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What is the simplest known way that an organism performs aerobic glycolysis? In other words, what is the simplest known way known to convert glucose into $\ce{H2O}$ and $\ce{CO2}$, other than by burning it?

In general, the (relatively conserved) pathway is glycolysis $\ce{->}$ pyruvate decarboxylation $\ce{->}$ citric acid cycle $\ce{->}$ oxidative phosphorylation, but perhaps there exist simpler pathways with possibly a lower energy yield.

I am interested in a way to convert glucose into water and carbon dioxide under (near-)physiological conditions, with a reaction timeframe of 12 hours, give or take. Specifically, I'd like to get rid of sugar as tidily as possible, disregarding energetic benefits. In that sense, I am interested in the (bio-)chemistries of organisms, not in the energy yield.

I am aware, of course, that sugar is used as an energy source by organisms, and they generally want to accumulate it, or at least, decompose it as efficiently as possible. It may well be that the "shortcut" I'm looking for is not known.

Several publications sort of address this topic, but I haven't found a fitting answer so far. In fact, the closest research to what I'm looking for I've found is a publication from 1931 by Degering and Upson; they describe iron pyrophosphate as a catalyst for sugar oxidation. However, they work with far higher reaction times (up to about 3 weeks) and somewhat high temperatures (around 40-90 °C as opposed to 0-35 °C) than I'd like.

I've also tried looking for shortcuts within the pathways using KEGG database. Glucose is COMPOUND C00031 and is referenced in 32 pathways; I've looked at the Glycolysis pathway (map00010) and have found no pathway other than the generally known one.

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you know why organisms converting glucose to carbon dioxide and water? It is unclear whether you do and what precisely you are asking. Do you think it is an end in itself? Why are you interested in aerobic glycolysis rather than anaerobic? Are you interested in energy yield or the varieties of chemistries in organisms? What do you mean by ‘efficient’? Have you consulted any of the numerous articles on glycolysis? Please clarify your question. $\endgroup$ – David Feb 7 '18 at 12:15
  • $\begingroup$ @David Thank you for your valuable remarks; I have edited the post to cover all your questions. Hopefully, it makes more sense now. $\endgroup$ – Zubo Feb 7 '18 at 12:39
  • $\begingroup$ @David I see from your profile that you are also competent in the field of Bioinformatics, very nice! I will add some more info on what I've tried, then. $\endgroup$ – Zubo Feb 7 '18 at 12:46
  • $\begingroup$ Protists are the thing. Not my field, but I found this review in following up a question (since closed) recently. $\endgroup$ – David Feb 7 '18 at 21:00

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