Ethanol is what most american’

Ethanol is what most american’s refer to as “alcohol”. Ourpopulation has found a variety of different ways to make it andmost people over a certain age drink it. This is fine because ourbody is able to process the ethanol into acetaldehyde which can befurther processed into acetic acid which our body can use. Methanolor wood alcohol does not have the same effect. In fact, most peoplewho drink it go blind and die.

Your job for this case study is to investigate what happens tomethanol in our body that it different from that of ethanol. Pleasedraw out all the stages of methanol oxidation and label theproblems associated with each stage. Also include which enzymes dothe oxidation steps

Methanol oxidation needs to be clearly shown with each enzymeindicated. Problems associated with each oxidation intermediatemust be listed correctly and the compound name from each stage mustbe listed correctly.


the processing, or metabolism, of ethanol in the liver beginswhen an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase converts the chemicalinto another toxic chemical called acetaldehyde. This toxin ismetabolized quickly, and in a few steps, it’s broken down intoinnocuous carbon dioxide and water

The metabolism of methanol, however, doesn’t go off as smoothly.The chemical depresses the central nervous system in the same wayas ethanol, so in large quantities, it can kill someone in the sameway as  ordinary alcohol poisoning, but according to theNational Institutes of Health, even 2 to 8 ounces of methanol canbe fatal to an adult.

This is because alcohol dehydrogenase, the same enzyme thatbreaks down ethanol, converts methanol into formaldehyde. Thisprocess is somewhat slow, which explains why the symptoms ofmethanol poisoning can sometimes take hours or days to manifest,but formaldehyde, once present, is processed very swiftly intoformic acid, a chemical found in ant stings.An unchecked buildup offormic acid, which is slow to metabolize, damages the ocular nerve(possibly resulting in the permanent blindness often associatedwith the consumption of bad bootleg liquor) and can eventually leadto death.

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