The pyruvate molecules produced during glycolysis possess potential energy that can only be released using oxygen in a process called the Krebs cycle.
Before they enter the Krebs cycle, these pyruvate molecules must first be oxidised in a procedure known as the link reaction take place exclusively inside mitochondria.
The Link Reaction
The pyruvate molecules produced in the cytoplasm during glycolysis are actively transported into the matrix of mitochondria.
Here, pyruvate undergoes a series of reactions during which the following changes take place:
1. The pyruvate is oxidised by removing hydrogen This hydrogen is accepted by NAD to form reduced NAD which is later to produce ATP
2. The 2 carbon molecule called an acetyl group, that is thereby formed combines with a molecule called coenzyme A to produce a compound called acetyl coenzyme A
3. A carbon dioxide molecule is formed from each pyruvatev