Chemical Digestion

Chemical Digestion is the process of converting food into small substances that are absorbed by the body. This accomplishes the alimentary canal by the enzymatic breaking down of food into smaller compounds.

Digestion is the mechanical and chemical process of breaking down food into smaller compounds. These small compounds are absorbed by the blood stream. Food digestion is like metabolism i.e., breaking down food into small molecules. In mammals, chemical digestion and mechanical digestion begin in the mouth.

Digestive enzymes accomplish the chemical digestion. Water and digestive enzymes are responsible for breaking down complex food molecules into small compounds. These complex molecules include fat, proteins and, carbohydrates. Small molecules are then absorbed by the cells.

Digestive enzymes are capable of controlling the speed of reaction. These digestive enzymes fastens the digestion process and absence of these slows down the digestion process. Eight digestive enzymes are responsible for chemical digestion. They include:

  1. Nuclease
  2. Trypsin
  3. Amylase
  4. Collagenase
  5. Elastase
  6. Chymotrypsin
  7. Protease
  8. Lipase

The time taken by the food undergo chemical and mechanical digestion varies from individual to individual. In adults the amount of time ranges from 24 hrs to 72 hrs. After ingestion the food remains six to eight hours after digestion. Large intestine stores the undigested food wastes for days.

Natural equilibrium exists between the chemical and mechanical digestion. Mechanical digestion breaks down food into smaller compounds as smaller compounds are easily absorbed. Necessary enzymes are present in the equilibrium for digestion of food. Accessory organs should work harmoniously for the enzymes production for proper digestion.

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