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The Digestive Process Begins

Chapter 11 Section 2
Functions of the Digestive System

The digestive system breaks down food into molecules the

body can use.
Molecules are then absorbed into the blood and carried
throughout the body.
Wastes are then eliminated from the body.
Digestion- the process by which your body breaks down
food into small nutrient molecules
Mechanical digestion- begins in the mouth
Chemical digestion- chemicals produced by the body break
foods into their smaller chemical building blocks
Absorption- the process by which nutrient molecules pass
through the wall of your digestive system into your blood
The Mouth
 Saliva- fluid released when your
mouth waters that is
important to both
mechanical and chemical
digestion in the mouth
 Mechanical Digestion- begins
in the mouth, performed by
the teeth
 Incisors- center teeth with
sharp edges that cut food into
small pieces
 Canines- sharp, pointy teeth
that tear and slash food into
smaller pieces
 Molars- large teeth used for
crushing and grinding
Chemical Digestion

Chemical digestion begins in the mouth

Chemical digestion- the breakdown of complex
molecules into simpler ones
Chemical digestion is accomplished by enzymes
Enzyme- protein that speeds up chemical reactions in
the body
Each enzyme has a specific shape that enables it to
break down specific molecules

The Esophagus
 Epiglottis- flap of tissue that
seals off your windpipe,
preventing the food from
 Esophagus- a muscular tube
lined with mucus that
connects the mouth to the
 Mucus- thick, slippery
substance produced by the
 Peristalsis- contractions of
smooth muscles push food
toward the stomach
 Vomiting- reverse peristalsis
cause by harmful materials
or bacteria in the body
The Stomach
 Stomach- a J-shaped, •Hydrochloric acid- kills many bacteria
muscular pouch located in swallowed with food in the stomach
the abdomen •Mucus coating the stomach protects it
 Most mechanical digestion from HCl
•Proteins are chemically digested into
occurs in the stomach shorter chains of amino acids
 Churning motion of the
stomach squeezes food
 Chemical digestion occurs as
the churning of the
stomach mixes food with
digestive juices containing
 Pepsin- enzyme that
chemically digests proteins
in food, breaking them
down into amino acids

 List the functions of the digestive system.

• To break down the food into molecules that can be used by the
body; to absorb the food molecules into the blood; to eliminate wastes
from the body
 Explain how the structure of incisors relates to their function.
• Incisors have sharp edges that cut food
 Describe peristalsis and explain its function in the digestive system.
• Peristalsis consists of involuntary waves of muscle contractions
that help push food through the digestive system
 What is the function of pepsin?
• Pepsin is an enzyme in the digestive juice produced in the
stomach; it breaks down proteins into shorter chains of amino acids
 If you stomach could no longer produce acid, how do you think that
would affect digestion?
• Without acid, pepsin cannot function properly, and therefore
protein digestion couldn’t take place in the stomach