The breakdown of amino acids releases nitrogen-containing amine groups (NH2) which can be toxic to cells

  • The liver removes these amine groups via the process of deamination and converts them into harmless products

The amine group is first converted into ammonia (which is toxic) and then converted into urea

  • Urea is non-toxic and excreted from the body by the kidneys (it is a component of urine)

The amine group can also be transferred via transamination to make new amino acids

  • These amino acids are non-essential – as they can be synthesised by the body

The remaining carbon skeleton is recycled to produce compounds that can be oxidised for energy

  • This includes the formation of glucose, ketone bodies and acetyl CoA

Deamination of Amino Acids