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THE HUMAN DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

THE 4 STAGES OF FOOD PROCESSING

1. Ingestion – the taking in or eating of food


2. Digestion – the breakdown of food by mechanical and chemical processes into molecules small
enough for body cells to absorb
3. Absorption – the transport of the products of digestion from the digestive system into the
circulatory system
4. Elimination – the removal of undigested solid waste matter from the body
THE MOUTH, EPIGLOTTIS, PHARYNX AND
ESOPHAGUS
INGESTION, A LITTLE DIGESTION AND TRANSPORTATION
THE MOUTH

• Food triggers the salivary glands to secrete saliva into the mouth
• Saliva
• A watery fluid containing the enzyme amylase – breaks down starches into simpler
carbohydrates (chemical digestion)
• Dissolves water-soluble food particles
• Stimulates taste buds
• Lubricates food to make it easier to swallow
THE MOUTH

• Teeth
• Bite, tear, and grind food into smaller pieces (Mechanical digestion)
• 4 main types of teeth
• Incisors (8) – specialized for cutting
• Canines (4) – specialized for tearing
• Premolars (8) – specialized for grinding
• Molars (12) – specialized for crushing
THE MOUTH

• Tongue
• moves food around the mouth to form a bolus
• Pushes bolus to the back of the mouth to be swallowed
THE EPIGLOTTIS, PHARYNX AND ESOPHAGUS

• Epiglottis – cartilage that closes the opening to the trachea when one swallows
• Pharynx – the body cavity that connects the nasal and oral cavities and aids in the process of
swallowing
THE EPIGLOTTIS, PHARYNX AND ESOPHAGUS

• Esophagus
• Hollow muscular tube that transports the bolus of food to the stomach through peristalsis –
wave-like series of muscular contractions
• Glands produce mucus to keep passage moist
• Esophageal sphincter relaxes to allow bolus to enter the stomach
THE STOMACH
DIGESTION CONTINUES
THE STOMACH

• Muscular, J-shaped organ with many folds to allow for expansion


• Food is temporarily stored for chemical and mechanical digestion to take place
• Site for initial protein digestion
Esophag
• Movement of food is regulated by 2 sphincters eal

• Esophageal sphincter – controls flow of bolus’ into the stomach


• Pyloric sphincter – controls flow of chyme into the small intestine
THE STOMACH

• Millions of gastric glands line the stomach – secrete gastric juice when stimulated by food
• Gastric juice
• Contains hydrochloric acid (HCl), salts, enzymes (i.e. pepsin), water and mucus
• HCl – kills harmful substances
• Pepsin – protein digesting enzyme that breaks down long amino acid chains into smaller
chains (polypeptides)
• Mucus – coats the walls of the stomach to protect against the acidic gastric juice (pH ~2-3)
THE STOMACH

• 3 layers of muscle fibres to churn and mechanically breakdown food, and mix it with the gastric
juice – result is a thick liquid called chyme
• Phyloric sphincter opens and the stomach pushes chyme into the small intestine
THE SMALL INTESTINE AND ACCESSORY
ORGANS
THE DIGESTION CONTINUES, AND THE BEGINNING OF ABSORPTION
THE SMALL INTESTINE

• Most of absorption occurs here


• Made up of three components – duodenum, jejunum and ileum
• About 7m in length and 2.5cm in diameter
• Walls of the S.I. are lined by folds that are covered by villi (finger-like projections) which are covered
with microvilli (long, threadlike extensions of the membrane) to increase the surface area for nutrient
absorption
THE SMALL INTESTINE

• Duodenum
• First region of the S.I.
• Receives secretions from the pancreas and gall bladder (accessory organs)
• Pancreas – secretes pancreatic fluid into the duodenum
• Gall bladder – stores and secretes bile into the duodenum
• Pancreatic fluid (Pancreas)
• Contains bicarbonate – alters the pH of chyme to protect the duodenum and produces conditions where
enzymes can function
• Contains enzymes that chemically digest carbohydrates, lipids and proteins
• Trypsinogen – protein digesting enzyme enters the S.I. and is converted into trypsin which breaks
down long polypeptide chains
• Erepsins – completes protein digestion by breaking down peptides into amino acids
• Amylase – carbohydrate digesting enzyme
• Pancreatic Lipase – lipid digesting enzyme
• Pancreatic nuclease – nucleic acid digesting enzyme
• Bile (Gall Bladder)
• First made in the liver, then is sent to the gall bladder for storage between meals
• A fluid that contains bile salts
• Bile salts
• Essential for the digestion of fats
• Physically breaks up fat droplets into smaller fat droplets – makes absorption of fats into
intestinal cells easier
THE SMALL INTESTINE

• Jejunum
• Second region of the S.I. and contains more folds than the duodenum
• Breaks down remaining proteins and carbohydrates to be absorbed through
intestinal cells into bloodstream
• Ileum
• Third region of the S.I. and contains fewer and smaller villi than the other 2 regions
• Function – to absorb nutrients and push the remaining undigested material into the
large intestine
CHEMICAL DIGESTION IN THE SMALL INTESTINE

• Two factors can affect the rate at which enzymes function to breakdown molecules -
temperature and pH
• Temperature
• Low temperatures = enzyme activity decreases
• High temperatures = enzyme activity increases, chemical bonds become too
weak and enzyme becomes denatured
• Optimal temperature = ~37oC
CHEMICAL DIGESTION IN THE SMALL INTESTINE

• pH
• Enzymes function efficiently at optimal pH levels – depends on enzyme
• Examples:
• Pepsin – functions in low pH level inside the stomach
• Trypsin – functions in a neutral environment in the small intestine
• Most enzymes function best in pH 6 – 8
ABSORPTION IN THE SMALL INTESTINE

• Monosaccharides
• Absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining
• Transported to the liver – converted into glucose
• Glucose is carried through the body by the circulatory system for energy
• Liver converts excess glucose into glycogen
• Glycogen is stored in liver
ABSORPTION IN THE SMALL INTESTINE

• Amino Acids
• Absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to the liver
• Are processed in the liver by various reactions
• Converted into sugars
• Used in energy-releasing chemical reactions
• Become part of urea
• Or carried by the circulatory system to cells to be used to make proteins
ABSORPTION IN THE SMALL INTESTINE

• Glycerol and Fatty Acids


• Absorbed into the cells of the S.I. and reassembled to form triglycerides
• Triglycerides – coated with proteins to become water-soluble
• Pass from cells into the bloodstream where protein-coating is removed
• Triglycerides are broken down by lipase enzymes (in the blood) into glycerol and fatty acids
– provide energy to cells
THE LARGE INTESTINE
MORE ABSORPTION AND ELIMINATION
THE LARGE INTESTINE

• Remaining material from the S.I. moves into the L.I. or colon
• Contains the caecum, ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, sigmoid colon and rectum

• Is much shorter and wider than the S.I.


THE LARGE INTESTINE

• Main function - to absorb water from the undigested food matter


• Anaerobic bacteria breakdown undigested matter further and produce important vitamins that are
absorbed into the bloodstream – leftover matter forms feces
• Feces are pushed by muscular contractions of the colon into the rectum – stores feces until they are
eliminated at the anus