The key difference between biotransformation and metabolism is that biotransformation is a part of metabolism in which the biochemical transformation occurs in a particular drug or compound while metabolism refers to all biochemical reactions taking place in a living organism.
Metabolism is a broad term, which not includes all the biochemical reactions taking place in a living organism but also metabolism of drugs as well. Hence, metabolism is active from the entry of a particular compound to the egestion of that compound in the living organism. Moreover, the metabolism of drugs or xenobiotic is an important area of Biochemistry studied widely across the world. Xenobiotic metabolism includes many procedures. The primary objective of xenobiotic metabolism or drug metabolism involves all the biochemical modifications that take place in a drug. Biotransformation is also a part of xenobiotic metabolism. Consequently, biotransformation from one compound to another compound is important in order to add properties such as solubility to compounds, etc.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Biotransformation
3. What is Metabolism
4. Similarities Between Biotransformation and Metabolism
5. Side by Side Comparison – Biotransformation vs Metabolism in Tabular Form
What is Biotransformation?
Biotransformation refers to the biochemical transformations taking place in a particular compound, a drug or a xenobiotic. Thus, it is also a part of the metabolism of an organism. However, biotransformation strictly refers to the change of biochemical property of a particular compound inside a living system. Likewise, biotransformation reactions mostly take place in xenobiotic reactions when the insoluble xenobiotics are made into soluble forms and conjugated for transport. Hence, these reactions fall under the category of biotransformation.
In xenobiotic metabolism, biotransformation is mainly important for two main purposes. Firstly, it aids in the survival of the organism by transforming nutrients into various forms. These biotransformed nutrients then easily absorbed by the organisms. Secondly, biotransformation is important to detoxify the toxic, harmful chemicals entering the body. Consequently, this enables the successful elimination of these harmful components from the living system. In xenobiotic mechanisms, the biotransformation has two phases; they are phase I and phase II. Each phase has its own functions that facilitate the xenobiotic mechanism processes.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism refers to the total number of biochemical reactions taking place in a living organism. Healthy metabolism in an organism helps the sustainable growth and survival of the organism. Metabolic processes are mainly important to maintain growth and development, to produce energy and for the facilitation of all the functional properties of an organism. Metabolism in a living being is divided into two main processes. They are anabolism and catabolism. Anabolism refers to the synthetic metabolic processes that utilize energy for the synthesis processes. Thus, metabolic processes such as photosynthesis, glycogen synthesis, lipid synthesis belong to the group of anabolic processes. In contrast, catabolism refers to the breakdown processes. Cellular respiration is a catabolic process which produces energy.
Metabolism is very subjective. The metabolic pathways differ from species to species. The metabolism of an organism depends on the complexity of the organism, the environment in which they live in, their genetic make – up and their behavioural patterns. The metabolic pathways also depend on the availability of biocatalysts and the availability of raw materials for the particular metabolic pathway. Thus, certain metabolic pathways are only present in some types of living organisms.
Metabolism in an organism should be well balanced to ensure the healthy living of an organism. Thus, signalling systems, hormones, enzyme regulators and factors such as temperature, pH also help to maintain the optimal metabolic rates in living organisms.
What are the Similarities Between Biotransformation and Metabolism?
- Both processes take place inside the living organisms.
- They both involve biochemical reactions.
- Also, both processes are vital for survival, growth and development.
- Furthrmore, these two processes are important in xenobiotic metabolism and drug metabolism.
- Moreover, these processes are enzyme-catalyzed.
- And, both processes require signalling pathways for regulation
What is the Difference Between Biotransformation and Metabolism?
Biotransformation refers to the biochemical transformations taking place in a particular compound, a drug or a xenobiotic. On the other hand, Metabolism refers to the total number of biochemical reactions taking place in a living organism. Thus, this is the key difference between biotransformation and metabolism. Moreover, the target of each process contributes to another difference between biotransformation and metabolism. That is; only a particular compound is targeted in biotransformation while the whole organism is involved in metabolic processes.
Summary – Biotransformation vs Metabolism
There is a very thin line between the terms biotransformation and metabolism. Both include biochemical reactions taking place between molecules inside a living system. However, metabolism covers a larger extent. It includes all the biochemical changes taking place within an organism. In contrast, biotransformation only targets on a particular molecule or drug. Consequently, biotransformation facilitates the physical change in the compound that results in functional changes in the particular compound. Hence, this summarizes the difference between biotransformation and metabolism.
1.“Biotransformation and Metabolism of Drugs | Deranged Physiology.” Deranged Physiology. Available here
2.“ToxTutor – Introduction to Biotransformation.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Available here
1.”Biotransformation products of bufotalin”By Claws024 – Own work, (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2.”Metabolism wip”By Zephyris at the English language Wikipedia, (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia