# Indian Journal of Biochemistry & Biophysics

Vol. 51, February 2014, pp. 52-57

New mathematical derivations for calculation of ATP yield due to the complete
oxidation of different types of fatty acids
Banda Venkat Reddy1, Bommena Rajendra Prasad2, Sukesh Narayan Sinha1* and Noor Ahmed1
1
Pesticide Laboratory, Food and Drugs Toxicology Research Centre, National Institute of Nutrition, Tarnaka, Jamai Osmania,
2
Department of Botany, University College of Science, Osmania University, Saifabad, Hyderabad-500004, AP, India

Received 01 May 2013; revised 02 January 2014

During the complete oxidation of fatty acids, the electrons removed from fatty acids in different forms (FADH2 and
NADH2) pass through the respiratory chain, driving the ATP synthesis. Generally, the ATP yield due to the complete
oxidation of fatty acids is calculated by sum total the ATPs obtained due to the oxidation of FADH2 and NADH2 due to lack
of any particular method. This calculation is simple for saturated even numbered fatty acids, but in the case of saturated and
unsaturated odd numbered fatty acids the calculation of ATP yield is difficult and needs mathematical calculations due to
some changes in their β-oxidation pathway when compared to the pathway of saturated even numbered fatty acids. These
calculations are made simple by our derivations and following formulae where we require only number of carbon atoms and
double bonds present in a fatty acid. Our method is superior and easier in comparison to long mathematical calculations that
are in the practice.

C D
TSE = , TSO = , TUE = , TUO =

Keywords: Fatty acids, Respiratory chain, β-Oxidation

Fatty acids are carboxylic acids with hydrocarbon triacylglycerols (also called neutral fats or
chains ranging from 4 to 36 carbons (C4 to C36)1,2. triglycerides), which are uncharged esters of fatty
They are fuel molecules and are stored as acids with glycerol. Lipase converts triglycerides into
—————— free fatty acids. Fatty acids derived from
*Corresponding author triacylglycerols are oxidized to meet the energy needs
E-mail: sukeshnr_sinha@yahoo.com of a cell or an organism. Generally, the yield from the
Tel: 1-40 -27018405; Fax: 91-40 -27019074; Mob: 9502140146 complete oxidation of one gram of fat is 9 kcal g-1
Abbreviations: A, number of acetyl-CoAs; AMP, adenosine
monophosphate; A(ATP), total number of ATP produced due to
(38 kJ g-1) in comparison to 4 kcal g-1 (17 kJ g-1) for
acetyl-CoA; ATP, adenosine tri phosphate; C, number of carbon carbohydrates and proteins. The oxidation of long-
atoms in a given fatty acid; D, number of double bonds in a given chain fatty acids to acetyl-CoA is a central
dinucleotide; F(ATP), total number of ATP produced due to FADH2;
tissues. In mammalian heart and liver, for example, it
N(ATP), total number of ATP produced due to NADH+H+ or provides as much as 80% of the energy needs under
NADH2; NSE, net ATP yield by oxidation of saturated even all physiological circumstances. The complete
numbered fatty acid; NSO, net ATP yield by oxidation of saturated oxidation of any fatty acid (e.g palmitic acid) to CO2
odd numbered fatty acid; Nt, Net ATP yield; NUE, net ATP yield by and H2O takes place in three stages: the oxidation of
oxidation of unsaturated even numbered fatty acid; NUO, net ATP
yield by oxidation of unsaturated odd numbered fatty acid; PPi,
fatty acid to two-carbon fragments in the form of
pyrophosphate; R, number of rounds of β-oxidation; T(ATP), total acetyl-CoA (β-oxidation3), the oxidation of acetyl-
number of ATP produced; TCA, tricarboxylic acid cycle; TSE, total CoA to CO2 and production of FADH2 and NADH2 in
ATP yield by oxidation of saturated even numbered fatty acid; TSO, the citric acid cycle4,5, and the transfer of electrons
total ATP yield by oxidation of saturated odd numbered fatty acid;