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A2 Biology Module 2805: Mammalian Physiology and Behaviour

Module 2805: Mammalian Physiology and Behaviour

5.9.1 Mammalian Nutrition

(a) explain what is meant by heterotrophic nutrition, and outline the

basic principles.

Heterotrophic: Need to eat food containing organic molecules as a source of

energy. (Opposite of autotrophic where own food is made)

(b) explain what is meant by the terms ingestion, digestion, absorption

and egestion.

Ingestion: Entry of food into the alimentary canal

Digestion: Macromolecules eg starch are broken down
Absorption: Food moves into the cells lining the gut, then into the blood
Egestion: Removal of faeces from the body

(c) distinguish between mechanical and chemical digestion.

Mechanical Digestion:
• Chewing by teeth and churning by stomach
• Increases surface are of food

Chemical Digestion:
• Hydrolysis using water to break chemical bonds
• Uses enzymes specific to particular substrates
• Enzyme may be released in its active form, inactive form, or be attached
to membranes

(d) recognise on photographs and diagrams, and by using the light

microscope, the following main regions of the gut: stomach, ileum and

Stomach: Gastric pits/oxyntic cells/chief cells

Ileum: Villi, Microvilli
Colon: Folded inner surface. No villi, just microvilli

A2 Biology Module 2805: Mammalian Physiology and Behaviour

(i) state the site of production and action, and explain the functions of:
pepsin, trypsin, chymotrypsin, exopeptidases, amylases, maltase, lipase
and bile salts.

Substance Produced in Works in Function

Amylase Salivary Mouth Starch → maltose

Pepsin Stomach Stomach Protein → peptides
Trypsin Pancreas Duodenum Protein → peptides
Chymotrypsin Pancreas Duodenum Protein → peptides
Carboxypeptidase Pancreas Duodenum Peptides → amino acids
Bile Salts Liver Duodenum Emulsifies fats.
Hydrogencarbonate ions
neutralize acids
Amylases Pancreas Duodenum Starch → maltose
Lipase Pancreas Duodenum Lipid → glycerol+ fatty
Ileum acids
Maltase Ileum Ileum Maltose → glucose

(e) describe the structure of the stomach and its functions in digestion
and absorption.

Cardiac Sphincter: Allows food to enter the stomach from the oesophagus
Pyloric Sphincter: Contracts to keep food in stomach for a few hours, then
relaxes and lets the partly digested chyme to pass into the duodenum

Layers of Stomach:
A Mucosa: With gastric pits
B Sub-mucosa: Connective tissue E
C Muscularis Externa: Smooth F
muscle (circular and longitudinal)
D Serosa: Connective tissue

Function of Stomach:
• Gastrin secreted by gastric glands
(pits) stimulates secretion of
gastric juice (pepsinogen/HCl)
• E: Oxynic Cell: Secretes HCl

A2 Biology Module 2805: Mammalian Physiology and Behaviour

• F: Chief Cell secretes pepsinogen, a precursor of pepsin is secreted. Only

converted to pepsin when food/HCl present to prevent autodigestion.
Pepsin catalyses this using HCl to hydrolyze peptide bonds to remove part
of molecule and uncover the active site.
• Pepsin is endopeptidase hydrolyzing protein (in the middle) to peptides
• Some foods eg meat spend longer in the stomach as large protein
molecules with small surface area require mechanical churning
• Goblet cells in the epithelial layer (mucosa) secrete alkaline mucus to
protect cells

(h) describe the gross structure and histology of the pancreas and
explain its functions as an exocrine gland.

Pancreas: Secretes pancreatic juice via the

pancreatic duct into the duodenum (small
Exocrine gland: Secretes into a duct (not into
the blood system)
Intralobular Duct: Carries away pancreatic
Acinar Cells: Produce trypsinogen for later
conversion into trypsin

Pancreatic juice:
• Trypsin: Protease (endopeptidase)
hydrolyzes protein in middle of chain to
separate polypeptides
• Chymotrypsin: Protease (endopeptidase)
hydrolyzes protein in middle of chain to separate polypeptides
• Carboxypeptidase: Protease (exopeptidase) Hydrolyzes end peptide bond
to release terminal amino acid
• Lipase: lipds → glycerol + fatty acids
• Amylase: Starch → maltose
• HCO3- (hydrogen carbonate) ions: Neutralizes chyme (food and acids)
from stomach. Makes pH suitable for digestive enzymes

If Pancreatic Failure (ducts blocked): Lack of fat + protein digestion, and

neutralization. Have to take tablets (protease, lipase and alkaline compounds)

A2 Biology Module 2805: Mammalian Physiology and Behaviour

(f) describe the structure of the ileum and its functions in digestion and

Digestion in the ileum:

• Epithelial cells have enzymes embedded
B in membrane Eg. maltase,

Absorbtion via epithelial lining of ileum:
• Villi present (villus diagram on left, 1mm)
• Columnar epithelium (A) with microvilli (B)
(brush border) to give large surface area
for absorption
• Glucose absorbed by sodium cotransport:
Many mitochondria produce ATP for
active transport of Na+ out of bottom of cell into
tissue fluid. This creates a concentration gradient
for Na+. Na+ and glucose in lumen allowed to
diffuse in together (facilitated diffusion) through
protein channel for polar molecules
• Amino acids also absorbed via Na+ cotransport with different proteins for
each amino acid
• Facilitated diffusion of glucose and amino acids at the base end
of the cell near the capillary (D) for transport to blood
• Fatty acids and glycerol being non-polar, can diffuse through the
(phospholipid) membrane and are converted to triglycerides on
the smooth endoplasmic reticulum then surrounded by protein in
golgi to form chylomicrons. They then enter the lacteal (C) then
lymph system

(g) describe the functions of the colon in absorption.

The colon (part of the large intestine) absorbs water and ions:
• Folded large surface area for absorption
• Large numbers of goblet cells to secrete mucus
• Water absorbed by osmosis
• Ions absorbed by active transport

(k) outline the role of the nervous system and hormones in the control of

Salivary Amylase stimulated:

• Salivary amylase is secreted in the mouth by the sight/smell/taste of food

A2 Biology Module 2805: Mammalian Physiology and Behaviour

Gastrin stimulated by the nervous system then has endocrine effect:

• Involuntary reflex action via the autonomic parasympathetic n.s.
• Fodd detected by taste receptors which send impulse to brain
• Gastrin secreted by stomach into blood following signal from brain along
vagus nerve (acetylecholine transmitter).
• Stimulates gastric glands (via endocrine system) to produce gastric fluid
and cells to produce gastrin
• Also, stretching of stomach wall and chemical action of food in the
stomach act as stimuli sending nerve impulse to gastric gland cells

Secretin hormone:
• Release of secretin by epithelial cells of the duodenum stimulated by
acidic food arriving in the duodenum
• Stimulates release of juice containing HCO3- ions from the pancreas
• Also acts on the liver to stimulate the synthesis of bile

CCK (Cholecystokinin) hormone:

• Stimulated by the arrival of products of fat/protein digestion in duodenum
• Release of CCK by epithelial cells of the duodenum
• Stimulates release of juice containing enzymes (eg. protease/lipase) from
the pancreas
• Also stimulates gall bladder emptying by smooth muscle contraction

(j) describe the specialisation of teeth and digestive systems in a named

ruminant and a named carnivore.

Carnivores (eg. dog) specialized for catching/chopping/swallowing food:

• Canines and upper incisors: Immobilize/kill prey and tear off flesh
• Pre-molars and Molars (Carnassials):Covered in hard enamel with sharp
edges for piercing/tearing. Stops bones of prey moving with high pressure
on small point. Scissor action slicing past each
other crushing bones and cutting meat into
pieces for swallowing
• Incisors are sharp for removing flesh from bone
• Closed roots (no further growth) as teeth do not wear (no food grinding)

Ruminant (Herbivore eg cow) specialized for efficient chewing of food:

• Molars and premolars are flattened with large surface area for grinding
• Have hard enameled ridged surface for grinding
• Enamel wears away to expose dentine and make troughs
• Incisors work against horny pad for cropping grass
• Jaw flexible for lateral movement
• Diastema : space to manipulate food.
Keep cud and fresh plants separate
• Open roots as grinding wears enamel.
Teeth constantly growing

A2 Biology Module 2805: Mammalian Physiology and Behaviour

Ruminant digestion specialized for obtaining energy from cellulose:

• 4 Chambered stomach for storage of food
• Rumen → Reticulum → Omasum → Abomasum
• Rumen full of bacteria
• Bacteria produce cellulase (cellulose → glucose) in anaerobic conditions
(O2 usedby other microbes and absorbed into blood)
• Regurgitation / chewing the cud helps mechanical digestion
• Bacteria convert glucose → fatty acids which are used by ruminant
• Omasum squeezes out water
• Abomasum (like normal stomach): Bacteria are digested to provide protein
• Nitrogen recycled as urea from liver secreted in large volume of saliva
• Mutualistic relationship as both benefit: bacteria get carbohydrate and
urea, ruminant gets source of energy and protein