Primary Metabolites vs. Secondary Metabolites

The main difference between primary metabolites and secondary metabolites is that primary metabolites are needed for the normal growth and cellular function while secondary metabolites are the end products of primary metabolites which are not required for normal cellular function and growth. The metabolic products of microorganisms are low weight products which are divided into two types, i.e., primary metabolic products and secondary metabolic products. Both have many differences in them.

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Primary Metabolites vs. Secondary Metabolites

The extraction of primary metabolites is comparatively easy, and they are produced in a large amount. On the contrary, the extraction of secondary metabolites is comparatively difficult, and they are produced in small quantities. The occurrence of primary metabolites is same in all the species of microbes while the production of secondary metabolites varies from specie to specie.

Primary metabolites are very important from an industrial point of view. They are used in many industries. They are also very important for the microbes themselves. They play a vital role in their development, reproduction, function and normal growth. Secondary metabolites are also important. They provide indirect support to the cells for the maintenance of their life. Primary metabolites are further divided into two types, i.e., primary essential metabolites and primary metabolic products. Secondary metabolites are not further divided into types. The examples of primary metabolites can be given as proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, lipids, etc. The examples of secondary metabolites can be given as steroids, phenolics, alkaloids, steroids, etc.

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Contents: Difference between Primary Metabolites and Secondary Metabolites

Comparison Chart

Basis Primary Metabolites Secondary Metabolites
Definition These are the metabolites which are produced during the active growth phase of an organism and necessary for cellular growth and functions.These are the metabolites produced from primary metabolites and produced after the completion of the growth phase.
Importance for cell They are mandatory for reproduction, growth, cellular function and development of the cell.They are mandatory for ecological and other activities of the cell.
Produced when They are produced during the active growth phase.They are produced during stationary phase.
Extraction Their extraction is easy.They are difficult to be extracted.
Quantity They are produced in a large amount.They are produced in a small amount.
Subtypes They are divided into two types, i.e., primary essential metabolites and primary metabolic products.They are not divided into further subtypes.
Presence Their presence in same in all the species. It indicates that they are the key element for growth and cellular functions.Their presence varies from species to specie.
Other benefits They are used in industry for different purposes.Secondary metabolites such as antibiotics are also used for industrial and medical point of view.  They are mandatory for their life span.
Another name They are also called as trophophase.They are also known as idiophase.
Examples Carbs, proteins, vitamins, lipids etc.Essential oils, phenolics, steroids, alkaloids are examples.
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What are Primary Metabolites?

Primary metabolites are the compounds which are produced during the growth phase of microorganisms. They play a key role in the growth, reproduction, development, and functions of the cell. They are produced in abundant quantity and thus easy to extract. These metabolites are produced when adequate nutrients are available in a medium for the microorganisms to grow.

The active growth phase of microbes during which primary metabolites are produced is known as trophophase. During this stage, the growth of microbes takes place at a very high rate. Primary metabolites include carbs, proteins, lipids, etc. Many metabolic products contribute them which include vitamins, nucleotide, amino acids, fatty acids, etc. Primary metabolites are further classified into two types, i.e., primary essential metabolites and primary metabolic end products.

Primary essential metabolites are those products which are mandatory for cell growth. Vitamins and amino acids are classic examples of primary essential metabolites. Primary metabolic end products are the compounds which are the end product of fermentation of primary metabolism. That includes ethanol, acetone, lactic acid, and butanol, etc.

What are Secondary Metabolites?

Secondary metabolites are those which are produced after the active growth phase. The stage during which secondary metabolites are produced is known as idiophase or secondary metabolism. Secondary metabolites are produced in less amount, and thus they are difficult to extract. They are not directly related to cellular growth or metabolism.

These metabolites are produced only by some specific species of microorganisms. They are important from the industrial point of view. Antibiotics are used for medical purpose. They play an important ecological role for cells. The examples of secondary metabolites are essential oils, steroids, phenolics, alkaloids, etc.

Key differences

  1. Primary metabolites are produced during the active growth phase of microorganisms while secondary metabolites are produced during the static phase.
  2. Primary metabolites are produced in abundant quantity while secondary metabolites are produced in less quantity.
  3. Primary metabolites are mandatory for the growth of cell while secondary metabolites are not directly associated with cellular growth.
  4. Primary metabolites are found in all the species while secondary metabolites vary from specie to specie.
  5. Primary metabolites are further classified into two types while secondary metabolites are not further subdivided.
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Conclusion

Primary metabolites and secondary metabolites are the types of metabolites in the cells. It is important for biology students to know the differences between these two types. In the above article, we learned the clear differences between these two types of metabolites.

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