Difference Between Chemical and Mechanical Digestion
Chemical vs Mechanical Digestion
The digestive system of human body is made of vacuous organs connected with long and twisted tube from the mouth to the anus. This is also interlinked with various other organs that help the body to break the food particles and helps to absorb the nutrients. Organs like mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and anus play an important part in the process of digestion.
When we consume food, the body needs to break down the food into smaller molecules of nutrients for the system to absorb the nutrients into blood streams. This would be carried to all the cells present throughout the body. Digestion process could be divided into mechanical and chemical digestion.
Mechanical digestion is a process that begins the moment the food particles reach the mouth. The process of taking the food from mouth to the body is called ingestion. The teeth initiates the mechanical digestion by grinding the food and this process is also called as masticating.
When initiating the chemical digestion process, the saliva secreted helps in softening the food into semi-solid lump. Salivary amylase enzyme helps in digesting the carbohydrates and mucus. This way the food particles are made finer for swallowing and chemical breakdown in the digestive track. The food thus made into semi solid lump is then pushed through the throat and esophagus, a hollow tube that connects throat and stomach.
On reaching the stomach the food goes through a series of chemical and mechanical treatment. Inside the stomach mechanical digestion called peristaltic contractions helps to churn the food bolus. The chemical process mixes the bolus with digestive juices released by the stomach lining cells. The food particles go through hours of digestive process passing through various stages of chemical digestion.
The processed food is moved into rectum by small intestine. Then the food gets fermented inside large intestine by the gut bacteria. This aids in digesting the unfinished projects of small intestine.
There are four important hormones that help in regulating the digestion process.
- Gastrin ‘“ gastric glands stimulates pepsinogen and hydrochloric acid on arrival of food inside stomach.
- Secretin ‘“ this signals secretion of sodium bicarbonate in pancreas. Secretin helps in controlling the acidity of the chime.
- Cholecystokinin ‘“ this helps in secretion of digestive enzymes in pancreas. This also aids in emptying the bile in gallbladder. Cholecystokinin is produced when the digestion process needs to handle fats from chime.
- Gastric inhibitory peptide ‘“ this helps in decreasing the churning process. This also helps in producing insulin secretion.
Even though the mechanical and chemical digestion processes are very important for the human digestive process, chemical digestion is considered more important. This is due to the complex procedure involved in Chemical digestion.
1. Mechanical digestion refers to the digestion process that breaks the food into smaller particles.
2. Chemical digestion is the process where acids, bases and enzymes released into the digestive track responds to semi-solid food lumps.
3. Chemical digestion is more important than mechanical digestion as this is how we get our energy.
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