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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Function of the digestive system

Function of the digestive system

Function of the Digestive System is the breakdown of complex food molecules into smaller and simple ones that are easily absorbed by the body cells.

Organs that make the digestive system

Two groups of organs namely the Gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the accessory digestive organs constitute the digestive system.
The GI tract is a continuous tube-like structure that extends from the mouth to the anus. Its length is almost 5-7 meters in a normal person. The organs that constitute the GI tract are mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
The accessory digestive organs include the teeth, salivary glands, liver, gall bladder, and pancreas.

Processes performed by the digestive system

The digestive system in human beings performs six basic processes which are listed below:
  • Ingestion: - The process of taking food through the mouth into the gastrointestinal tract by activities like eating or drinking. In unicellular organisms, it takes place through the cell membrane.

  • Mixing and propulsion:- The walls of the gastrointestinal tract contain smooth muscles that generate alternating contractions and relaxations resulting in the mixing of food and also aid in the process of peristalsis that is the movement of food along the digestive tract.

  • Secretion: - The secretions from the walls of the gastrointestinal tract and accessory digestive organs prevent the growth of bacteria, help in the breakdown of complex substances, moist food and adjust the PH to the optimum level.

  • Digestion: - The process of Digestion is classified into two types:

    a) Mechanical Digestion: - It involves process mastication (food is crushed into pulpy mass) and peristalsis.

    b) Chemical Digestion:- It helps in the breakdown of large carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids into smaller molecules via enzymes secreted by various parts of the digestive system.

  • Absorption: - This process mostly occurs in the small intestine. The small intestine contains microvilli and finger-like projections called villi. Both of these increase surface area so that more nutrients can be absorbed.

  • Defecation: - The final step in digestion, undigested substances, wastes, bacteria and digested materials that were not absorbed during the process are removed from the body as faces.

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