• The digestive system of humans consists of an alimentary canal and associated digestive glands.
  • The alimentary canal consists of the mouth, buccal cavity, pharynx, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and the anus.
  • The accessory digestive glands include the salivary glands, the liver (with gall bladder) and the pancreas.
  • Inside the mouth the teeth masticates the food, the tongue tastes the food and manipulates it for proper mastication by mixing with the saliva.
  • Saliva contains a starch digestive enzyme, salivary amylase that digests the starch and converts it into maltose (disaccharide).
  • The food then passes into the pharynx and enters the oesophagus in the form of bolus, which is further carried down through the oesophagus by peristalsis into the stomach.
  • In stomach mainly protein digestion takes place. Absorption of simple sugars, alcohol and medicines also takes place in the stomach.
  • The chyme (food) enters into the duodenum portion of the small intestine and is acted on by the pancreatic juice, bile and finally by the enzymes in the succus entericus, so that the digestion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats is completed.
  • The food then enters into the jejunum and ileum portions of the small intestine. Carbohydrates are digested and converted into monosaccharides like glucose.
  • Proteins are finally broken down into amino acids. The fats are converted to fatty acids and glycerol.
  • The digested end products are absorbed into the body through the epithelial lining of the intestinal villi.
  • The undigested food (faeces) enters into the caecum of the large intestine through ileo-caecal valve, which prevents the back flow of the faecal matter.
  • Most of the water is absorbed in the large intestine. The undigested food becomes semi-solid in nature and then enters into the rectum, anal canal and is finally egested out through the anus.

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