Digestive System of Human

Digestive system is a group of organs & associated digestive glands that take part in ingestion, digestive absorption of food & egestion of undigestible matter. Digestive organs from a continuous canal called alimentary canal.

Alimentary Canal

Alimentary Canal in man is  9 metres long & consists of the following part.


Transverse slit like aperture.

Digestive System of Human

Oral Cavity

  • It is bounded by lips & has cheeks, gums, teeth & tongue.
  • The food taken inside oral cavity is masticated i.e. mechanically broken into smaller particles before being swallowed.
  • The floor of the buccal cavity has a tongue bearing taste buds.
  • Man possesses teeth on both the jaws, there are 32 teeth of four different types, namely incisors, canines, premolars & molars.

Dental Formula

× 2 = x

\frac{{No.\,\,of\,\,teeth\,\,in\,\,half\,\,part\,\,of\,upper\,\,jaw}}{{No.\,\,of\,\,teeth\,\,in\,\,half\,\,part\,\,of\,\,lower\,\,jaw}}\times 2=x$

  • In Man →  I \frac{2}{2}$, C \frac{1}{1}$, Pm \frac{2}{2}$ , M \frac{3}{3}$\frac{8}{8}$x 2 =  Total 32 teeths



It is short conical region that lies after the mouth cavity.


It is a long narrow muscular tube which leads to the stomach. No digestive gland are present.


It lies below the diaphragm on the left side of abdominal cavity is J-shaped.

Small Intestine

It is convoluted tube and differentiated into 3 regions, viz. Duodenum which is the first part of small intestine & is curved C-shaped; Jejunum, comparatively longer & more coiled and Ileum, which is the last part of small intestine whose inner surface is folded to form villi, which absorbs the products of digestion.

Large Intestine

  • It is much shorter & wider than small intestine & is differentiated into three regions viz;
  • Caecum which is small rounded blind sac from which vermiform appendix arises;
  • Colon is the inverted U-shaped tube
  • The rectum opens to exterior through anus.
  • No digestion takes place in large intestine, only absorption of water takes place.
  • In herbivores like horse, rabbit digestion of cellulose takes place in caecum.


In the small intestine (ileum) absorption of all digested materials takes place.


It is the process of utilisation of absorbed food for various body functions. The absorbed nutrients are utilised to resynthesise complex molecules like carbohydrates, protein & fats inside the cells.

Man cannot digest cellulose.


It is the process of elimination of undigested food formed in the cells, or in the lumen of large intestine (colon & rectum) through the anus.

Voluntary cotraction of abdominal muscles help in egestion of faeces.

Table : summary of digestion enzymes of various glands with their secretions and end products of Digestion in Man

S.No. Name of gland Secretion Site of action Enzymes Food acts upon End product
1 Salivary glands Saliva Buccal cavity Salivary amylase Starch Maltose
2 Gastric glands Gastric Juice Stomach Pepsin Proteins Peptones & proteoses
        Renin Casein of milk Paracasein
    HCl Stomach Pepsinogen Pepsin
3 Liver Bile Duodenum Fats Emulsification of fats
4 Pancreas Pancreatic
Duodenum Amylase
Starch & Glycogen
Emulsified fats
Maltose & Isomaltose
Peptones & peptides
Fatty acids & glycerol
5 Intestinal glands Intestinal Juice Samall intestine Erepsin
Peptones & Peptides
Amino acids
Glucose & fructose
Glucose & galactose
Monoglycerides & fatty acid
    Mucous Large intestine Lubrication of faecal