The main difference between primary metabolites and secondary metabolites is that primary metabolites are the metabolites that are required for the growth and regulation of cellular functions whereas secondary metabolites are the metabolites that are obtained as the end product of primary metabolites.
Primary Metabolites vs. Secondary Metabolites
Microbial Metabolic products are actually the low molecular weight compound that is essential for the metabolic processes of cell or body. These products are divided into two main types, i.e., the primary metabolites and the secondary metabolites. Primary metabolites are the metabolic products that are formed during the growth phase of an organism to perform the physiological functions and to regulate the development of the cell whereas secondary metabolites are the final products of primary metabolism that are formed after the growth phase and play an important role in ecological and many other activities of the cell. Primary metabolites are produced in large numbers, and their extraction is easy while secondary metabolites are produced in small amount and their extraction is difficult. Amino acids and the vitamins etc. are the examples of primary metabolites whereas steroids and antibiotics etc. are the examples of secondary metabolites.
What are Primary Metabolites?
Primary metabolites are produced in trophophase or primary metabolism during the growth phase. They produced in the presence of all required nutrients. They play an important role in the growth, development, and reproduction of a cell. They maintain a normal physiological process, so they are also known as a central metabolite. The exponential growth of the microorganisms starts during tropophase. These metabolites are used in different industries for various purposes.
- Primary Essential Metabolites: These are the compounds that are essential for cell growth and hence produced in adequate amount. Nucleosides, vitamins and amino acids are examples of the primary essential metabolites.
- Primary Metabolic End Products: These are the compounds that are the normal end products of the fermentation process of primary metabolism such as ethanol, acetone, lactic acid, and butanol, etc.
What are Secondary Metabolites?
Secondary metabolites produced during idiophase or secondary metabolism after the exponential phase ends. This phase occurs at the time of the limited nutrients or in the accumulation of waste products. They do not want to play a direct role in the growth of cell and are produced in small quantities. So, they are known as the end products of primary metabolites. Antibiotics, alkaloids, gibberellins, toxins, and steroids, etc. are examples of secondary metabolites. They are produced in a large number of industries and also support the cell to sustain their life for a long duration. Bacitracin that is derived from an organism Bacillus subtilis is an antibiotic that is commonly used as a topical drug.
- The metabolic products that are formed during the growth phase of an organism to perform the physiological functions and to regulate the development of the cell are called primary metabolites, whereas the final products of primary metabolism that are formed after the growth phase and play an important role in ecological and many other activities of the cell are known as secondary metabolites.
- Primary metabolites produced at a phase also known as trophophase; on the other hand, secondary metabolites are produced at a phase that is known as idiophase.
- Primary metabolites occur at the growth phase on the flip side; secondary metabolites occur at the stationary phase.
- Primary metabolites are the same in every species. Conversely, secondary metabolites vary in different species.
- Primary metabolites are produced in large quantities, but secondary metabolites are produced in small quantities.
- The extraction of primary metabolites is easy whereas the extraction of secondary metabolites is difficult.
- The primary metabolites are used in different industries for various purposes. They play an important role in cell growth, development and reproduction while there are many important secondary metabolites such as antibiotics and gibberellins, etc. They also support the cell to sustain their life for a long duration.
- Vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids are some examples of primary metabolites whereas phenolics, essential oils, alkaloids, and steroids are a few examples of secondary metabolites.
From the above discussion, it is summarized that primary and secondary metabolites are two types of metabolites. Primary metabolites are that which are required by the cell for its proper growth and maintenance and are produced in large number while secondary metabolites are the end products of primary metabolism and are produced in a small number.