Glycolysis is a very important process, in which glucose is converted into pyruvate. As it is an anaerobic process, glycolysis occurs in the absence of oxygen, but there are times when it happens aerobically as well. In eukaryotes, glycolysis takes place in the cytoplasm, more exactly in the cytosol. Glycolysis is actually the first cellular respiration step, and it consists of 10 sequences. These sequences are further divided into two phases: the preparatory phase and the pay off phase. Throughout these phases, 10 intermediary compounds are being used, which are basically the entry points of the process.
Examples of intermediates can be fructose, glucose and galactose, which are mostly common in monosaccharides. In the first phase, ATP is consumed. ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate and cells use it as a coenzyme. ATP has a very important role in the cell, as it carries chemical energy. Then, the second phase is the one in which ATP is actually being produced. Other materials formed as a result of the glycolysis process include NADH, which stands for reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. In glycolysis, a molecule of glucose in converted into two molecules of pyruvic acid. So glycolysis is basically the starting point for other respiration processes, like fermentation. Everybody knows that fermentation is the process in which yeast is being converted into alcohol. And everybody enjoys drinking beer, so here is one of the reasons why glycolysis is so important.
The organisms that ferment sugar are strongly dependent on glycolysis, as this process represents an important pathway for them. The importance of glycolysis resides, thus, from the fact that the aerobic and anaerobic respiration processes would not be possible without it. For us, humans, it may be hard to understand glycolysis, as it is a complex process, but one thing is for sure: its importance is undeniable. A simple definition of glycolysis, to understand it better, would be to think of the two words that it is formed from. You will find out that glycolysis actually means sugar breaking, so you can see that figuring out what glycolysis implies is not that hard.