The digestive system is composed of two parts: the alimentary canal and the accessory digestive structures. These two parts of the system work together to break down food into absorbable units and eliminate the non-digested material as feces. Let’s begin by identifying each of the organs in the alimentary canal and the accessory digestive structures.
Choose one organ/structure and post details about it to begin the discussion. Choose a different organ for each of your follow up posts to ensure everyone has an opportunity to contribute.
I’ll start with the alimentary canal. The alimentary canal is a long, muscular tube that runs from the mouth to the anus. It is divided into the following parts:
- Mouth. The mouth is where food is chewed and mixed with saliva. Saliva contains enzymes that begin the chemical digestion of carbohydrates.
- Pharynx. The pharynx is a muscular tube that connects the mouth to the esophagus. It helps to move food from the mouth to the esophagus.
- Esophagus. The esophagus is a muscular tube that carries food from the pharynx to the stomach. Peristalsis, the rhythmic contractions of the smooth muscle in the esophagus, moves food down the esophagus.
- Stomach. The stomach is a muscular sac that churns and mixes food with gastric juices. Gastric juices contain enzymes that begin the chemical digestion of proteins.
- Small intestine. The small intestine is the longest part of the alimentary canal. It is where most of the digestion and absorption of nutrients takes place.
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