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Chemical breakdown of larger molecules into smaller ones.
Hydrolysis is a typical metabolic decomposition reaction. Dehydration synthesis, by contrast, in building things up is not a decomposition reaction, though it may be coupled with a decomposition reaction such as the hydrolysis of ATP to form ADP.
Decomposition reactions are typically associated with digestion or catabolism, or of course the more general decomposition of organisms. Contrast with synthesis reactions or anabolism.
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