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Nutrition and Digestive


Rocky Python (Python sebae) eating an animal

 Heterotrophic nutrition
 Adaptations of a herbivore, carnivore,
liquid feeder, microphagous feeder to its diet
 Structures of human alimentary/digestive
Learning Objectives

•Differentiate heterotrophic and autotrophic

• Define holozoic nutrition and their stages.
• Explain 5 forms of heterotrophic nutrition.
• Plants and other autotrophs
– Are the producers of the biosphere

• Heterotrophs
– Obtain their organic material from other organisms

– Are the consumers of the biosphere

– Cannot manufacture their own food

• The main stages of food processing are ingestion,
digestion, absorption, and elimination

• Ingestion, the act of eating

– Is the first stage of food processing

• Digestion, the second stage of food processing or food


– Is the process of breaking food down into molecules

small enough to absorb

– Involves enzymatic hydrolysis of polymers into their

– Mechanical and chemical digestion.
• Absorption, the third stage of food processing
– Is the uptake of nutrients by body cells

• Elimination, or egestion the fourth stage of food processing

– Occurs as undigested or waste material that passes out
of the digestive compartment
The four stages of food processing

• The four stages of

Smallfood processing

of food

Chemical digestion Nutrient

Mechanical (enzymatic hydrolysis) molecules
digestion enter body




 There are several form of heterotrophic nutrition:

• Holozoic nutrition – complex food is taken in and then

broken down inside the organism into simple molecules
and then reabsorbed by the organism.

Most animals feed in this way and they have specialized

digestive system.
• The stages of holozoic nutrition are:

1. Obtaining food
2. Ingestion
3. Physical or mechanical digestion – involves cutting or
crushing action of the teeth and contraction of the gut
muscles which pound the food.
4. Chemical digestion – involves enzymes and secretions
(acid or alkali)
5. Absorption
6. Assimilation
7. Elimination/ egestion – is removal of ingested but
unwanted material from the body.
Classification of holozoic organisms according to the type of
food ingested.

• Herbivores – eat plants, primary consumers.

• Carnivores – eat animals
• Omnivores – eat plants and animals
• Liquid feeders – feed on plant or animal juices
• Microphagous feeders – feed on small particles
suspended in water, they are always aquatic. e.g. mussels
2. Saprobiontic/ saprophytic/ saprotrophic nutrition –
complex organic food are obtained from dead or decaying

The food may be digested externally outside the

organism (saprobiont secretes various enzymes) into simpler
molecules, which then diffuses into the saprobiont.
The organisms have no digestive system. e.g fungi

3. Parasitism – complex organic food is obtained from other

living organisms (hosts). The parasites get the benefit. The
hosts get the harm. e.g. Plasmodium malariae
4. Mutualism – both species get the benefits from each other.
e.g. root nodules of Papilionaceae (peas, bean) and
Rhizobium (nitrogen-fixing bacteria).

5. Commensalism – one species benefit, the other neither

benefits nor it is harmed. E.g. shark and remora fish.

- Associations between organisms are never static.

- E.g. Armillaria mellea can be a parasite of a tree which

eventually kills the tree but after that it becomes a
saprobiont, feeding on its remains.
A Spotted Hyena and Vultures fighting over the kill.
Learning Objectives

• Differentiate extracellular digestion and

intracellular digestion and give examples.
Extracellular and Intracellular digestion

Extracellular digestion – occurs outside the cells, usually

take place in the gut.

Intracellular digestion – occurs inside the cells e.g. Amoeba.

Amoeba has pseudopodia which invaginate to engulf food

particles. These become enclosed in a phagocytic vesicle.
Digestive enzymes are then secreted into the vesicle to
digest the food particles. The soluble products of digestion
are then absorbed into the cytoplasm.
Digestive cavity

• Some invertebrates have a digestive cavity with a single

• For example, sponge have no digestive system but digest
trapped food intracellularly.
• Cnidarians and flatworms have gastrovascular cavities to
digest food extracellularly. Undigested materials are
egested through the mouth.
• Most animal digestive system have two opening.

• Animal with a ‘tube-within-a-tube’ body plan have a

digestive tube with accessory glands.
• The mouth leads to pharynx, the esophagus, the stomach,
the small and large intestine and anus.
• Animals with simple body plans
– Have a gastrovascular cavity that functions in both
digestion and distribution of nutrients

Mesenchyme Digestion in a hydra. The outer
epidermis of the hydra has
protective and sensory functions,
cells whereas the inner gastrodermis is
Flagella specialized for digestion. Digestion
Gland cells begins in the gastrovascular cavity
Food vacuoles and is completed intracellularly after
Mesenchyme small food particles are engulfed by
the gastrodermal cells.
 In some animals, both extracellular and intracellular
digestion can occur.

 They secrete extracellular enzymes into the gut to break the

food down into smaller particles and these are then taken up
by phagocytosis into the cells lining the gut.

 Digestion is completed by the intracellular enzymes.

Some Dental Adaptations

• Dentition, an animal’s assortment of teeth

– Is one example of structural variation reflecting diet

• Mammals have specialized dentition

– That best enables them to ingest their usual diet

Incisors Pointed incisors and canines that can be

used to kill prey and rip or cut away pieces of
flesh. The jagged premolars and molars
Canines Molars crush and shred food.
(a) Carnivore Premolars

Teeth with broad, ridged surfaces that grind

tough plant material. Incisors and canines
(b) Herbivore are generally modified for biting off pieces of
vegetation. In some herbivorous mammals,
canines are absent.

Relatively unspecialized dentition.

Permanent (adult) - 32. Beginning at the
midline of the upper and lower jaw are 2
bladelike incisors for biting, a pointed canine
for tearing, 2 premolars for grinding and 3
molars for crushing.
1. Premolar and molar teeth – which have a large surface
area for grinding. Ridges are formed on the surfaces of
teeth due to uneven wear and tear of the hard enamel and
softer dentine during grinding.

2. Long incisor teeth – for pulling plants. Between the

incisors and premolars there is a pronounced gap called
diastema, a space to keep newly nibbled food which is
separated from that being ground at the back of the mouth.
3. Because of the wear and tear of teeth during grinding, the teeth grow
continuously throughout the herbivore’s life.

4. Jaws easily move from side to side, allowing the food to be broken
down between the ridged teeth.

5. Because the digestion of plant material is relatively difficult,

herbivores have a long digestive tract.

6. Some herbivores have a multi-chambered stomach. Some chambers

produce digestive enzymes to break down the food. Other chambers
have bacteria which produce cellulase for digesting cellulose.

7. For herbivorous insects, they have a jagged-edge mandible cutting

through the leaves of plants.
Learning Objectives

•Explain about the adaptation of herbivore,

carnivore, liquid and macrophagous feeder.
• Deferentiate ruminant and non-ruminant.
Stomach and Intestinal Adaptations

• Herbivores generally have longer alimentary canals than

– Reflecting the longer time needed to digest vegetation

Small intestine


Carnivore Herbivore
Symbiotic Adaptations

• Many herbivorous animals have fermentation chambers

– Where symbiotic microorganisms digest cellulose.

• The most elaborate adaptations for an herbivorous diet

– Have evolved in the animals called ruminants
Adaptations of a herbivore to its diet

• Plant material is relatively tough and indigestible without

the aid of microorganisms.

• Grinding the plant material is also important to increase

the surface area, making chemical digestion easier.

• Therefore, herbivores possess several adaptations for this

kind of diet.
Ruminant herbivores – e.g. cow

• They have an enlarged stomach at the lower end of the

esophagus which is divided into 4 chambers:

1. Reticulum 2. Rumen 3. Omasum

4. Abomasum
1 Rumen. When the cow first chews and
swallows a mouthful of grass, boluses
(green arrows) enter the rumen.

2 Reticulum. Some
Intestine boluses also enter the
reticulum. In both the rumen
and the reticulum, symbiotic
prokaryotes and protists go
to work on the cellulose-
rich meal. The
microorganisms secrete
fatty acids. The cow
periodically regurgitates and
rechews the cud (red
arrows), which further
breaks down the fibers, for
further microbial action.

4 Abomasum. The cud, containing great numbers of

3 Omasum. The cow then reswallows
microorganisms, finally passes to the abomasum for
the cud (blue arrows), which moves to
digestion by the cow‘s own enzymes (black arrows).
the omasum, where water is removed.
Non-ruminant herbivores – e.g. rabbit
They also have fermentation chambers for digesting
cellulose and these are the caecum and appendix.

Since these structures are located at the end of the gut,

the food cannot be regurgitated into the small intestine for
absorption. So, to absorb the food, these animals have 2
types of faeces:

1. soft faeces – it contains digested food, which is eaten

directly from the anus (called coprophagy) and
absorbed when passes through the gut for the 2nd

2. hard faeces (pellets) – contain little food material.

Humans do not possess rumen but bacteria are present in
the colon.
Adaptations of a carnivore to its diet

Carnivores - catching and killing prey. These adaptations


1. High speed locomotion

2. Sharps claws
3. Long and pointed canine teeth for piercing and killing the
prey and tearing the flesh from its body.
4. Sharp incisor teeth and carnassial teeth (last upper
premolar and 1st lower molar) for biting flesh and pulling it
off the bone.
5. Teeth of the upper jaw tend to overlap those of the lower
jaw (like 2 blades of scissors), allowing the slicing of meat
into pieces.
6. Vertical movement of the jaw is less restricted, allowing
carnivores open a wide gap for capturing prey.

7. Well developed muscles of the jaw, allowing the

carnivore to grip the prey firmly.

Once captured, the prey may be swallowed as a whole

without breaking it up into pieces. e.g. shark, pythons; or
chewed up and then swallowed. e.g. majority of carnivores
Adaptations of liquid feeders to their diet

There are 2 groups of liquid feeders:

1. Absorbers e.g. gut parasites such as tapeworms which

absorbed digested food of the host straight through their
integument. They do not have a gut or digestive enzymes.

2. Suckers e.g. insects such as mosquitoes, moths,

butterflies). They possess proboscis for obtaining food.
Adaptations of microphagous feeders to their diet
• The food for microphagous feeders is already broken up,
so digestion is not a problem.

• Usually they have problems in collecting, sorting and

concentrating the food particles and conveying them to
the mouth.

• Their adaptations for these problems are:

 Have flapping appendages or cilia to draw water

towards their body.

 Have a sieve or sheet-like gills for filtering out the

food particles.
Learning Objectives

• Describe the structure and process occurs in the

human alimentary tracts.

Gastroenterology ?
- The medical specialty deal with structure, function, diagnosis
and treatment of diseases of the stomach and intestines.

Proctology ?
- The medical specialty that deal with diagnosis and treatment
of disorders of the rectum and anus.
• Animals with a more complex body plan
– Have a digestive tube with two openings, a mouth and
an anus

• This digestive tube

– Is called a complete digestive tract or an alimentary
canal (gastrointestinal tract)

• The digestive tube can be organized into specialized

– That carry out digestion and nutrient absorption in a
stepwise fashion
- Organ of the gastrointestinal tracts include the mouth,
pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large
- The length of the alimentary tracts taken from the cadaver is
about 9 m, longer compare to the living person.
- Why?
- It is because the alimentary tract organs are in the state of
tonus or sustained contraction in living human.
Layer Of GI Tract
- The wall of the GI tract, from the esophagus to the anal
canal, has the same basic, four layered arrangement of
- The four layers of the tract, from deep to superficial, are the
mucosa, submucosa, muscularis and serosa.
- The lumen of the GI tract is lined by a mucous membrane,
the mucosa.
- There are three layers:
-Lamina propia
-Muscularis mucosae
- Muscularis mucosae - throws the mucous membrane of the
stomach and small intestine into many small folds that
increases the surface area for digestion and absorption.
- Consists of vascular and submucosal plexus or plexus of
Meissner (the “brain of the gut”-neuron)
- May contains glands and lymphatic tissue.
- Consists of smooth muscle –inner sheet-circular fibers and
the outer sheets –longitudinal sheets
- Consists of myenteric plexus or plexus of Auerbach
- Consists of connective tissue and simple squamous
epithelium. They also called as visceral peritoneum.
Oral cavity

• In the oral cavity, food is lubricated and digestion begins

– And teeth chew food into smaller particles that are

exposed to salivary amylase, initiating the breakdown
of glucose polymers
- Refer to as oral or buccal cavity-form by the cheeks, hard and
soft palates and tongue.
Salivary glands
- Release a secretion called saliva into the oral cavity.
- Ordinarily, just enough saliva is secreted to keep the mucous
membranes of the mouth and pharynx moist and to cleanse
the mouth.
- When food enters the mouth, secretion of saliva increase and
begin the chemical breakdown of the food.
- Three pairs of major saliva glands are parotid, submandibular
and sublingual glands.
Salivary glands
- Is an accessory digestive organ composed of skeletal muscle
covered with mucous membrane.
-The lingual frenulum - a fold of mucous membrane in the
midline of the undersurface of the tongue-limiting the
-The upper surface and lateral surface of the tongue are
covered with papillae which contain taste buds.
- Teeth or dentes are accessory digestive organs located in the
- Human have two dentitions or set of teeth: deciduous and
- The deciduous teeth also called as primary teeth, milk teeth
or baby teeth.
- All the deciduous teeth are lost between ages 6 and 12 years
and are replaced by the permanent (secondary) teeth.
- A typical tooth consists of three principal regions which is the
crown, neck and roots.
- Crown is visible portion above the level of the gums.
- Embedded in the socket are one to three roots.
- The neck is the constricted junction of the crown and root
near the gum line.
- Teeth composed primarily of dentin, a calcified connective
tissue that gives the tooth basic shape and rigidity.
- The dentin of the crown is covered by enamel-hardest
substance in the body and rich in calcium salts.
- The dentin of the roots is covered by cementum, another
bonelike substance, which attaches the root to the peridontal

-The region we call our throat is the pharynx.

- A junction that opens to both the esophagus and the
windpipe (trachea)
-Through chewing, the tongue manipulates food, the teeth
grind it and the food is mixed with saliva.
- As result, he food is reduced to a soft, flexible mass called
bolus that is easily swallowed.
- Swallowing (deglutition)is a mechanism that moves food from
the mouth to the stomach.
Esophagus-eating gullet
- Is the collapsible muscular tube that lies posterior to the
- It begins at the end of the pharynx, pierces the diaphragm
through an opening called the esophageal hiatus and end in
the superior portion of the stomach.
- Hiatal hernia is the condition where a portion of the stomach
protrudes above the diaphragm through the esophageal
- The esophagus secretes mucus and transport food into the
- It does not produces digestive enzymes and it does not
carry on absorption.
From mouth to stomach

The swallowing reflex and

esophageal peristalsis 4 The esophageal
sphincter relaxes,
allowing the
bolus to enter the
Bolus of food up
Tongue Glottis
up down
Pharynx and open
Esophageal Esophageal
Glottis Epiglottis sphincter Esophageal
Larynx down relaxed 5 After the food sphincter
has entered the contracted
Trachea Esophagus esophagus, the
larynx moves Relaxed
To lungs To stomach Glottis up downward and muscles
opens the
and closed breathing Contracted
passage. muscles
When a person is not 3 The larynx, the
1 upper part of the
swallowing, the esophageal 6 Waves of muscular Relaxed
respiratory tract,
sphincter muscle is contracted, moves upward and contraction muscles
2 The swallowing
the epiglottis is up, and the reflex is triggered tips the epiglottis (peristalsis)
glottis is open, allowing air over the glottis, move the bolus
when a bolus of
preventing food down the esophagus
to flow through the trachea food reaches the
to the stomach.
pharynx. from entering the
to the lungs. trachea.


-Food is pushed through the esophagus by a progression of

the involuntary coordinated contractions and relaxion called
- Rhythmic waves of contraction of smooth muscles in the
wall of the canal
- The peristalsis occurs in others tubular structures as well.
- Peristalsis is control by medulla oblongata.
- In the sections of the esophagus lying just superior to the
bolus, the circular muscle fibers contract, constricting the
esophageal wall and squeezing the bolus towards the
-Meanwhile, longitudinal fibers in front the bolus also contract
and pushes its walls outward so it can receive the bolus.
-Mucus secretes by esophageal glands lubricates the bolus
and reduce friction.
-Before the bolus go in to the stomach, it has to pass through
the lower esophageal sphincter
- Is typically J-shaped enlargement of the GI tract.
- The stomach connects the esophagus to the duodenums,
which is the first part of the small intestine.
- The stomach serve as a mixing and holding reservoir.
- It can accommodate a large quantity of food.
- In the stomach digestion of starch continues, digestion of
proteins and triglycerides begins.
- Semisolid bolus is converted to a liquid and certain
substances are absorbed.
-The stomach has 4 regions the cardia, fundus, body and
- When the stomach is empty, the mucosa lies in large folds
called rugae.
-The pylorus communicates with duodenum via pyloric
-Stomach has same 4 basic layers as like GI.
-The mucosa layer form columns of secretory cell called
gastric glands that line many narrow channels called gastric
-Secretions from several gastric glands flow into each gastric
pit and then into the lumen
1. Body
2. Fundus
3. Greater curvature
4. Lesser curvature
5. Cardia
6. Pyloric sphincter
14. Rugae

Regions of stomach
-The gastric glands contain exocrine gland cells that secrete
their product into the stomach lumen.
-Parietal cell produce hydrochloric acid and intrinsic factor
(needed for absorption of vitamin B12
-The chief cell secrete pepsinogen and gastric lipase.
-The secretion of the mucous, parietal and chief cell form
gastric juice.
-G cell is a type of enteroendocrine cell that secrete the
hormone gastrin into the bloodstream.
-Gastrin stimulates growth of the gastric glands and secretion
of large amounts of gastric juice.
• The lining of the stomach
– Is coated with mucus, which prevents the gastric juice
from destroying the cells
Cardiac orifice


5 µm
Folds of
Interior surface of stomach. tissue
The interior surface of the
stomach wall is highly folded
and dotted with pits leading Epithelium 3
1 Pepsinogen and HCI
into tubular gastric glands.
are secreted into the
Pepsinogen Pepsin (active enzyme)
Gastric gland. The gastric 2 lumen of the stomach.
glands have three types of cells HCl
that secrete different components
of the gastric juice: mucus cells, 1
chief cells, and parietal cells. 2 HCl converts
pepsinogen to pepsin.
Mucus cells secrete mucus,
which lubricates and protects
3 Pepsin then activates
the cells lining the stomach.
more pepsinogen,
starting a chain
Chief cells secrete pepsino-
reaction. Pepsin
gen, an inactive form of the begins the chemical
digestive enzyme pepsin. digestion of proteins.
Parietal cell
Parietal cells secrete Chief cell
hydrochloric acid (HCl).
-Several minutes after food enter the stomach, mixing wave –
gentle peristaltic movement pass over stomach every 15-25
-This wave mix the food with the secretions of gastric glands and
reduce it to a soupy liquid called chyme.
-More vigorous wave begins at the body of the stomach and
intensify as they reach pylorus.
-The phyloric sphincter not completely close and several ml of
chyme enter duodenum.
-Pepsinogen activate become pepsin, which broke peptide
bonds in protein.
-Lipase splits the short chain triglycerides (fats) in butter-fat
molecules found in the milk.
-Vomiting-involve squeezing the stomach between the
diaphragm and abdominal muscles and expelling content
through open esophageal sphincters.
• Gastric ulcers, lesions in the lining
– Are caused mainly by the bacterium Helicobacter
– Initiates ulcers by destroying protective mucus and
causing inflammation of the stomach lining. Then the
acidic gastric juice can attack the stomach tissue.


layer of

1 µm
Liver and gallbladder
-Liver is the heaviest gland of the body about 1.4 kg in adult.
-Divided into two lobe-large right lobe and smaller left lobe by
falciform ligament
-The lobe of liver is made up of many functional units called
lobules, which consists of specialized epithelial cell-
-Bile secreted by the hepatocytes enter bile canaliculi.
-Bile is store temporarily in the gallbladder.
-The gall bladder is a peer-shape sac that is located in a
depression of the posterior surface of the liver.
-Consist of a head, body and a tail and is connected to the
duodenum by two ducts
-The pancreas is made up of small clusters of glandular
epithelial cells., they are 99 % arranged in clusters called
-The cell acini secrete a mixture of fluid and digestive enzyme
called pancreatic juice.
-The remaining 1 %are clustered as pancreatic islet-islet of
-These cell secrete hormones glucagon, insulin and others.
-Pancreatic juice is clear, colourless consist of water, salts,
sodium bicarbonate and several enzyme.
-Sodium bicarbonate gives pancreatic juice slightly alkaline pH
that buffers the acidic gastric juice in chyme.
-It produce the proper pH for the actions of digestive enzyme in
small intestine.
-The pancreatic juice-pancreatic amylase, trypsin, pancreatic
lipase, ribonuclease, deoxyribonuclease and others.
1 - head
4 - body
11 - tail

Pancreas region
- Pancreatitis is an inflammation of pancreas.
- It may occur in association with alcohol abuse or chronic
- If the bile contain either insufficient bile salt or lecithin or
excessive cholesterol. It may crystallize to form gallstones.
- Jaundice is a yellow colouration of the sclerae (white eye),
skin and mucous membrane-build up of yellow compound
called bilirubin.
- Bilirubin is formed from the breakdown of the heme pigment
in aged red blood cell.
Functions of the liver:
-Carbohydrate metabolism
-Lipid metabolism
-Protein metabolism
-Processing of drugs and hormones
-Excretion of bilirubin
-Synthesis of bile salts
-Activation of vitamin D
The Small Intestine

• The small intestine-refers to its small diameter, compared to

the LI

– Is the longest section of the alimentary canal

– The areas is further increase by circular folds, villi and
– It begins at the pyloric sphincter of the stomach and
eventually open into the large intestine.
– The SI is divided into 3 regions-duodenum, jejunum and
Enzymatic Action in the Small Intestine
• The first portion of the small intestine is the duodenum

– Where acid chyme from the stomach mixes with

digestive juices from the pancreas, liver, gallbladder,
and intestine itself

Liver Bile



Acid chyme

Pancreatic juice


Duodenum of
small intestine
• The pancreas produces inactive proteases, protein-
digesting enzymes into the duodenum.

• Enteropeptidase, which is bound to the intestinal

epithelium, converts trypsinogen to trypsin.

• Trypsin then activates other proteases


trypsinogen Trypsin

Other inactive
proteases Active
Lumen of duodenum
Endopeptidases and exopeptidases

- break peptide bonds in the interior part of a protein
molecule producing polypeptide or small peptide chains.
e.g. pepsin, trypsin

– attack polypeptide or small peptide chains to break the
terminal part of amino acids therefore, releasing free
amino acids.
– e.g. aminopeptidases attack the end of polypeptide chain
with free amino group (NH2); carboxypeptidases - attack
the end of polypeptide chain with free carboxyl (COOH)
Digestion of cellulose by herbivores


• breaks beta-glycosidic links and split cellulose into

• it is secreted by bacteria, proctotist, fungi.
• mammals cannot produce cellulose but it can be digested
by mammalian herbivores.
-Enzyme from the liver, pancreas and sl combine to digest the
-Carbohydrates digested into monosaccharrides
Amylases hydrolyze glycosidic bond linking the glucose but
cannot split the B-glycosidic bond in cellulose.
-Protein digested to amino acids
Chymotrypsin, trypsin and pepsin digest protein
-Fat digested into fatty acids and monoacylglycerols
Pancreatic lipase digest fat droplet
Bile salt emulsify fat droplet
Fat digestion is incomplete , undigested fat may be absorbed
without complete digestion.
Carbohydrate digestion Protein digestion Nucleic acid digestion Fat digestion
Oral cavity,Polysaccharides Disaccharides
pharynx, (starch, glycogen) (sucrose, lactose)
esophagus Salivary amylase

Smaller polysaccharides,
Stomach Proteins

Small polypeptides

Lumen of Polysaccharides Polypeptides DNA, RNA Fat globules (Insoluble in

small intes- water, fats aggregate as
tine Pancreatic amylases Pancreatic trypsin and Pancreatic globules.)
chymotrypsin (These proteases nucleases Bile salts
Maltose and other cleave bonds adjacent to certain
disaccharides amino acids.) Fat droplets (A coating of
bile salts prevents small drop-
Smaller Nucleotides
lets from coalescing into
polypeptides larger globules, increasing
exposure to lipase.)
Pancreatic carboxypeptidase
Pancreatic lipase

Amino acids Glycerol, fatty

acids, glycerides
Epithelium Small peptides Nucleotidases
of small
intestine Nucleosides
Disaccharidases Dipeptidases, carboxypeptidase, and
aminopeptidase (These proteases split Nucleosidases
border) off one amino acid at a time, working and
from opposite ends of a polypeptide.) phosphatases

Monosaccharides Nitrogenous bases,

Amino acids
sugars, phosphates
Absorption of Nutrients
• To enter the body, nutrients in the lumen must cross the
lining of the digestive tract
• A few nutrients are absorbed in the stomach and LI, but
most absorption -SI
• Most of the enzymatic hydrolysis of food macromolecules
and most of the absorption of nutrients into the blood occur
in the SI.
• Enzymatic digestion is completed as peristalsis moves the
mixture of chyme and digestive juices along the small
• The small intestine has a huge surface area
– Due to the presence of villi and microvilli that are
exposed to the intestinal lumen
• The enormous microvillar surface
– Is an adaptation that greatly increases the rate of nutrient
Vein carrying blood to (brush border)
hepatic portal vessel


Muscle layers
Epithelial cells
circular Lacteal

Key Lymph
Villi vessel
Nutrient Intestinal wall
Layer of small intestine SEM of small intestine
SEM of the surface of epithelial cell
Enlarged view of the villi
showing microvilli
• The core of each villus
– Contains a network of blood vessels and a small
vessel of the lymphatic system called a lacteal

• Nutrients are absorbed across the intestinal epithelium &

then across the unicellular epithelium of the capillaries or

– Thus only 2 layers of epithelial cells separate

nutrients in the lumen of the intestine from the
– Intestinal juice is a clear yellow fluid secreted abt. 1-2
liter a day.
– It has pH 7.6, slightly alkaline, which contain water
and mucus.
• Amino acids and sugars
– Pass through the epithelium of the small intestine and
enter the bloodstream

• After glycerol and fatty acids are absorbed by epithelial cells

– They are recombined into fats within these cells
– These fats are then mixed with cholesterol and coated
with proteins
– Forming small molecules called chylomicrons, which are
transported into lacteals
Fat globule

Bile salts 1 Large fat globules are

emulsified by bile salts
in the duodenum.

2 Digestion of fat by the pancreatic

Fat droplets
enzyme lipase yields free fatty
coated with
Micelles made acids and monoglycerides, which
bile salts
up of fatty acids, then form micelles.
and bile salts 3 Fatty acids and mono-
glycerides leave micelles
and enter epithelial cells
by diffusion.

Epithelial 4 Chylomicrons containing fatty

cells of substances are transported out
small Lacteal of the epithelial cells and into
intestine lacteals, where they are carried
away from the intestine by lymph.
The Large Intestine
• The large intestine, or colon
– Is connected to the small intestine
- The large intestine is the terminal portion of the GI tract.
- Overall functions are the completion of absorption, the
production of certain vitamins, formation of feces and
expulsion of feces from the body.
- The colon have cecum and vermiform appendix, colon,
rectum and anus.
- The colon subdivided into ascending colon, transverse colon,
descending colon and sigmoid colon.
- Normally the anus is closed except during the elimination of
- Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix.
• Peristalsis also occurs but in the slower rates.
• The final stage of digestion occurs in the colon through the
activity of bacteria that inhibit the lumen.
• Mucus is secreted by the glands of the large intestine.
• No enzymes are secreted.
• Chyme –prepared for elimination by the actions of bacteria,
ferment carbohydrates and release gases as flatus.

• A major function of the colon

– Is to recover water that has entered the alimentary

• The wastes of the digestive tract, the feces

– Become more solid as they move through the colon
• The terminal portion of the colon-rectum
- where feces are stored until they can be eliminated

• Between the rectum and the anus are 2 sphincters, one

involuntary and the other voluntary

• One or more times each day, strong contractions of the

colon create an urge to defecate

• Diarrhea-is and increase in the frequency, volume and fluid

content of the feces caused by increase motility and
decreased absorption by the intestine.
• Constipation-refer to infrequent or difficult defecation
caused by decreased motility of the intestine.