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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the process of digestion
  • Detail the steps involved in digestion and absorption
  • Define elimination
  • Explain the role of both the small and large intestines in absorption

Obtaining nutrition and energy from food is a multi-step process. For true animals, the first step is ingestion, the act of taking in food. This is followed by digestion, absorption, and elimination. In the following sections, each of these steps will be discussed in detail.

Ingestion

The large molecules found in intact food cannot pass through the cell membranes. Food needs to be broken into smaller particles so that animals can harness the nutrients and organic molecules. The first step in this process is ingestion    . Ingestion is the process of taking in food through the mouth. In vertebrates, the teeth, saliva, and tongue play important roles in mastication (preparing the food into bolus). While the food is being mechanically broken down, the enzymes in saliva begin to chemically process the food as well. The combined action of these processes modifies the food from large particles to a soft mass that can be swallowed and can travel the length of the esophagus.

Digestion and absorption

Digestion is the mechanical and chemical break down of food into small organic fragments. It is important to break down macromolecules into smaller fragments that are of suitable size for absorption across the digestive epithelium. Large, complex molecules of proteins, polysaccharides, and lipids must be reduced to simpler particles such as simple sugar before they can be absorbed by the digestive epithelial cells. Different organs play specific roles in the digestive process. The animal diet needs carbohydrates, protein, and fat, as well as vitamins and inorganic components for nutritional balance. How each of these components is digested is discussed in the following sections.

Carbohydrates

The digestion of carbohydrates begins in the mouth. The salivary enzyme amylase begins the breakdown of food starches into maltose, a disaccharide. As the bolus of food travels through the esophagus to the stomach, no significant digestion of carbohydrates takes place. The esophagus produces no digestive enzymes but does produce mucous for lubrication. The acidic environment in the stomach stops the action of the amylase enzyme.

The next step of carbohydrate digestion takes place in the duodenum. Recall that the chyme from the stomach enters the duodenum and mixes with the digestive secretion from the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. Pancreatic juices also contain amylase, which continues the breakdown of starch and glycogen into maltose, a disaccharide. The disaccharides are broken down into monosaccharides by enzymes called maltases , sucrases , and lactases , which are also present in the brush border of the small intestinal wall. Maltase breaks down maltose into glucose. Other disaccharides, such as sucrose and lactose are broken down by sucrase and lactase, respectively. Sucrase breaks down sucrose (or “table sugar”) into glucose and fructose, and lactase breaks down lactose (or “milk sugar”) into glucose and galactose. The monosaccharides (glucose) thus produced are absorbed and then can be used in metabolic pathways to harness energy. The monosaccharides are transported across the intestinal epithelium into the bloodstream to be transported to the different cells in the body. The steps in carbohydrate digestion are summarized in [link] and [link] .

Questions & Answers

what is a fungi
Anaba Reply
What is meant by adaptation?
Agbesi Reply
who is the father of evolution
Ferkah Reply
Charles D
Dr
complete the table below based on the levels of biological organization
Lovely Reply
Give me Examples of living thing which have 2 or more flagella?
Mahesh Reply
insect and plants
qax
bacteria and chlamydompnas
Berhanu
reproduction it's full meaning
Gift Reply
full meaning of ATP
Gifty
A life process in which living things increase their population through sexual or non sexual intercouse
Danisha
please explaination
Daniel
Gifty ATP means Adenosine tri phosphate
Mahesh
the process by which organisms produce their own kind.
Berhanu
who is the father of Biology
Ferkah
reproduction is the process where living organisms producess their offspring
jerry Reply
what is reproduction
Nmesoma Reply
why some kinds of students are failed
Ahmadi Reply
lack of concentration
Faith
lack of guidance and counseling
ali
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John
don't mind about reading
aine
lack of focus
Afolayan
Inability to study at their own pace.📒
Agbesi
Inability to study at their own pace.📒
Agbesi
What is the meaning of optic
Kisaky Reply
Giving a specific section of the alimentary canal,describe 3 ways in which physical digestion occurs.
Kisaky
mouth when chewing
ephraim
what is population
Ivy Reply
total number of people living in an area
FILDA
a number of people lives in one catigorize area or named area
Oburak
total number of people living in a specific geographical area.📕
Agbesi
total number of people living in a specific geographical area.📕
Agbesi
what is a cell
Chiko Reply
basic and functional unit of life
Edwin
cell is tissues that makes up functional life in human or un animal.
Oburak
is the smallest basic unit of life.
Kisaky
Is the smallest baic unit. o
Kisaky
why cell is very important to human body
Ahmadi
what is diffusion
Henry
diffusion is a process of mix of particles from higher concentration to the lower one,to make the body functional normal
Adam
what is effusion
Mahesh
what is soil
FILDA Reply
Is the finely divided material covering the earth crust.
Kisaky
is the upper moist of layer of the earth surface
Ahmadi
The natural material that covers the surface of the earth crust.📖
Agbesi
what is reducing sugar
Erica Reply
in genetics which disease is also termed as the queen disease
Phinihas Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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