Integrated SequencePhysics Chemistry Organic Biology

Web Resources

  click if a link is broken

Special points of emphasis

Reactions of Carboxylic Acids and Derivatives

Bioenergetics and Cellular Respiration


Decarboxylation is an important process in biochemistry, so you definitely want to devote a bit more attention to this process than may have been required in your organic chemistry course. For the MCAT, detailed prior knowledge will not be as important as a comfortable familiarity.

While the decarboxylization of both α and β-keto acids occurs in respiration, the decarboxylization of β-keto acids is simpler to achieve in the organic chemistry laboratory. In the citric acid cycle, the oxidation of Isocitrate by NAD+ (by converting a hydroxyl group to a carbonyl group) produces a β-keto acid leading to decarboxylization to form α-Ketoglutarate. The reverse of the decarboxylization of a β-keto acid occurs in photosynthesis with the carboxylization of the enediol intermediate of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate to form a β-keto acid as part of fixing CO2. Obviously, the last bit about photosynthesis is a comprehension exercise in the context of the MCAT. Plants are not an MCAT topic.

The WikiPremed MCAT Course is a free comprehensive course in the undergraduate level general sciences. Undergraduate level physics, chemistry, organic chemistry and biology are presented by this course as a unified whole within a spiraling curriculum.

Please read our policies on privacy and shipping & returns.  Contact Us.
MCAT is a registered trademark of the Association of American Medical Colleges, which does not endorse the WikiPremed Course.

Creative Commons License
The work of WikiPremed is published under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 License. There are elements of work here, such as a subset of the images in the archive from WikiPedia, that originated as GNU General Public License works, so take care to follow the unique stipulations of that license in printed reproductions. You can use the resources here for commercial or non-commercial purposes, but please give attribution and a link to the production credits and edit history of the resource. For the works here which began as my individual work, please attribute "John Wetzel, an author at".