How are the small intestines in mammals adapted to their functions? - KCSE Biology Essay

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Small intestines consists of the duodenum and the ileum; most digestion of food occurs in the duodenum;

Bile from the gall bladder of the liver is secreted through the bile ducts; and it is used to emulsify fats/break fat particles into tiny droplets; to increase the surface area for enzyme action;

The pancrease secretes pancreatic juice to the duodenum; the juice contains pancreatic amylase; that helps to breakdown the remaining starch into maltose; trypsin; (that is secreted in its inactive form, trypsinogen, and activated by enterokinase enzyme); hydrolyses proteins into shorter peptides;

Pancreatic lipase; converts lipids into fatty acids and glycerol; sodium hydrogen carbonate is also produced; to neutralize the acidic chyme from the stomach; and provide a suitable alkaline medium for pancreatic and other intestinal enzymes;

The ileum is long; and narrow; to increase the surface area for complete digestion of food; and maximum absorption of digested food; highly-coiled; to reduce speed of food flow; for maximum digestion; and absorption;

Presence of villi; and microvilli; to increase surface area; for maximum absorption;

Dense network of capillaries; to transport blood; for efficient transport of absorbed food;

Presence of lacteals in the villi; for absorption of fatty acids and glycerol molecules;

Presence of enzymes: Lipase; for digestion of lipids into fatty acids and glycerol; maltase; for digestion of maltose to glucose molecules; peptidase; for breakdown of peptides into amino acids; sucrase; for digestion of sucrose into glucose and fructose; lactase; for digestion of lactose into glucose and galactose;

Goblet cells; produce mucus; to lubricate the walls of the ileum; for smooth flow of food; coats the walls of ileum to prevent digestion by peptidase enzyme;


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