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Describe the alimentary canal of man.
The alimentary canal is the main organ of the digestive system. It starts from the mouth and ends in the anus.
The main organs of the alimentary canal are:
The mouth (or buccal cavity), pharynx, esophagus (food pipe), stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus.
The major glands associated with the alimentary canal of man are salivary glands, gastric glands, intestinal glands, liver, and pancreas.
Their functions are:
1. Salivary glands: The main function of the salivary gland is to produce saliva through a system of ducts. It contains salivary amylase which is responsible for the digestion of starch into simple sugars.
2. Gastric glands: The stomach wall or gastric glands secretes gastric juice containing three substances hydrochloric acid, mucus, and pepsin.
The functions of hydrochloric acid are to kill bacteria that may enter the stomach with food and the activation of inactive pepsinogen into active pepsin. The mucus protects the inside layer of the stomach from the damaging effect of the substance hydrochloric acid whereas the substance pepsin is an enzyme for digestion. It helps in the digestion of proteins. The partially digested food then enters the small intestine for further digestion.
3. Intestinal glands: These glands produce intestinal juices responsible for the complete digestion of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids into an absorbable form.
4. Liver: The liver produces bile juice which is stored in the gall bladder. It helps to digest fats.
5. Pancreas: It secretes pancreatic juice and hormones. Pancreatic juice contains enzymes that combine with the juices of intestinal walls to form chyme. Pancreatic amylase helps in breaking down the starch. Pancreatic lipase breaks down fats. While pancreatic proteases break down proteins.
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