The stomach is a muscular, hollow, dilated part of the digestion system which functions as an important organ of the digestive tract in some animals, including vertebrates, echinoderms, insects (mid-gut), and molluscs…read more
The stomach is a muscular, hollow, dilated part of the digestion system which functions as an important organ of the digestive tract in some animals, including vertebrates, echinoderms, insects (mid-gut), and molluscs. It is involved in the second phase of digestion, following mastication (chewing). The stomach is located between the esophagus and the small intestine. It secretes protein-digesting enzymes and strong acids to aid in food digestion, (sent to it via oesophageal peristalsis) through smooth muscular contortions (called segmentation) before sending partially digested food (chyme) to the small intestines. Bolus (masticated food) enters the stomach through the oesophagus via the oesophageal sphincter. The stomach releases proteases (protein-digesting enzymes such as pepsin) and hydrochloric acid, which kills or inhibits bacteria and provides the acidic pH of two for the proteases to work. Food is churned by the stomach through muscular contractions of the wall called peristalsis – reducing the volume of the fundus, before looping around the fundus and the body of stomach as the boluses are converted into chyme (partially digested food). Chyme slowly passes through the pyloric sphincter and into the duodenum, where the extraction of nutrients begins. Depending on the quantity and contents of the meal, the stomach will digest the food into chyme anywhere between forty minutes and a few hours. The average human stomach can comfortably hold about a litre of food. Gastric juice in the stomach also contains pepsinogen and prorennin. Hydrochloric acid activates these inactive forms of enzymes into active forms which are pepsin and renin (proteases). Rennin digests the milk protein Caesinogen (soluble) into caesin (insoluble) thus curdling the milk. Pepsin breaks down proteins into polypeptides.