βeta‐Oxidation

In target tissues, fatty acids are broken down through the β‐ oxidation pathway that releases 2‐carbon units in succession. For example, palmitic acid has 16 carbons. Its initial oxidation produces eight acetyl‐Coenzyme A (CoA) molecules, eight reduced FAD molecules, and eight NADH molecules. The fatty acid is first activated at the outer mitochondrial surface by conjugating it with CoA, then transported through the inner mitochondrial membrane to the matrix, and then, for each 2‐carbon unit, broken down by successive dehydrogenation, water addition, dehydrogenation, and hydrolysis reactions.