Digestive chemicals - water, gastric acid, bile & bicarbonate




• Water is the most abundant molecule in ingested fluids. • Water plays a primary role in hydrolytic digestive reactions. • Helps liquefy and transport digestive foodstuffs down the tract. • Transports secretions from accessory digestive organs to gastrointestinal tract. • Aids in the absorption of nutrients. • The stomach mucosa produces hydrochloric acid, a strong acid. • Gastric acid breaks hydrogen bonds and alters the globular shape of proteins to promote the : • Production of pepsin, the gastric enzyme. • Destruction of microbial proteins. ▪ Enzymes more easily break down the resulting polypeptide into smaller peptides. • Bile is produced by the liver. • Bile consists mostly of bile salts (produced from cholesterol) and water. • Primary function of bile is emulsification of fatty globules. • Emulsification facilitates efficient breakdown of fat molecules by lipase enzymes. • Bicarbonate is secreted into the intestine to: • Buffer the acidic chyme from the stomach and protect intestinal mucosa. • Promote an alkaline pH level in the small intestine to create a proper environment for intestinal enzymes to function normally.



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