Life Processes

Steps of Holozoic NutritionIngestion, Digestion, Absorption, Assimilation and Egestion
Organs of Human Digestive SystemMouth, Oesophagus, Stomach, Small Inestine, Large Intestine, Rectum, Salivary Gland, Pancreas, Liver and Galls Bladder

Animal Nutrition

In the previus section, you have read that when an organism takes food from another organism, it is called heterotrophic nutrition. Different heterotrophic organisms follow different methods to take and utilize food. Based on this, heterotrophic nutrition can be divided into two types, viz. saprophytic nutrition and holozoic nutrition. In case of saprotrophic nutriton, digestion takes place outside the body, i.e. before food is ingested. In case of holozoic nutrition, digestion takes place after ingestion, i.e. inside the body. Amoeba shows a good example of holozoic nutrition and so do human beings.

In this section, you will read about various steps of holozoic nutrition. You will also read about nutrition in amoeba and about structure of the human digestive system.


Chapter List


Steps of Holozoic Nutrition

  1. Ingestion: The process of taking in the food is called ingestion.
  2. Digestion: The process of breaking complex food substances into simple molecules is called digestion. Simple molecules, thus obtained, can be absorbed by the body.
  3. Absorption: The process of absorption of digested food is called absorption.
  4. Assimilation: The process of utilization of digested food; for energy and for growth and repair is called assimilation.
  5. Egestion: The process of removing undigested food from the body is called egestion.

Nutrition in Amoeba:

nutrition in amoeba

Fig: Nutrition in Amoeba

Amoeba is a unicellular animal which follows holozoic mode of nutrition. The cell membrane of amoeba keeps on protruding to make pseudopodia. Amoeba surrounds a food particle with pseudopodia and makes a food vacuole. The food vacuole contains the food particle and water. Digestive enzymes are secreted in the food vacuole and digestion takes place. After that, digested food is absorbed from the food vacuole. Finally, the food vacuole moves near the cell membrane and undigested food is expelled out.

Nutrition in Humans

Human beings are complex animals, which have a complex digestive system. The human digestive system is composed of an alimentary canal and some accessory glands. The alimentary canal is divided into several parts, viz. oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and anus. Salivary gland, liver and pancreas are the accessory glands which lie outside the alimentary canal.

Structure of Human Digestive System:

Mouth or Buccal Cavity: The mouth has teeth and tongue. Salivary glands are also present in the mouth. The tongue has gustatory receptors which perceive the sense of taste. Tongue helps in turning over the food, so that saliva can be properly mixed in it.

Teeth: Teeth help in breaking down the food into smaller particles so that swallowing of food becomes easier. There are four types of teeth in human beings, viz. incisor, canine, premolar and molar. The incisor teeth are used for cutting the food. The canine teeth are used for tearing the food and for cracking hard substances. The premolars are used for coarse grinding of food. The molars are used for fine grinding of food.

Salivary Gland: Salivary glands secrete saliva. Saliva makes the food slippery which makes it easy to swallow the food. Saliva also contains the enzyme salivary amylase or ptyalin. Salivary amylase digests starch and converts it into sucrose.


Stomach: Stomach is a bag-like organ. Highly muscular walls of the stomach help in churning the food. The walls of stomach secrete hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid kills the germs which may be present in food. Moreover, it makes the medium inside stomach as acidic. The acidic medium is necessary for gastric enzymes to work. The enzyme pepsin, secreted in stomach, does partial digestion of protein. The mucus, secreted by the walls of the stomach saves the inner lining of stomach from getting damaged from hydrochloric acid.

human digestive system

Fig: Human Digestive System

Small Intestine: It is a highly coiled tube-like structure. The small intestine is longer than the large intestine but its lumen is smaller than that of the large intestine. The small intestine is divided into three parts, viz. duodenum, jejunum and ileum.

Liver: Liver is the largest organ in the human body. Liver manufactures bile, which gets stored in gall bladder. From the gall bladder, bile is released as and when required.

Pancreas: Pancreas is situated below the stomach. It secretes pancreatic juice which contains many digestive enzymes.


Digestion in MouthSalivary Amylase converts starch into sucrose.
Digestion in StomachPepsin partially digests protein
Digestion in Small IntestineTrypsin and chymotrypsin complete the digestion of protein. Lipase digests fat. Sucrase digests sucrose, maltase digests maltose, nuclease digests nucleic acids, etc.

Bile and pancreatic juice go to the duodenum through a hepato-pancreatic duct. Bile breaks down fat into smaller particles. This process is called emulsification of fat. After that, the enzyme lipase digests fat into fatty acids and glycerol. Trypsin and chymotrypsin are enzymes which digest protein into amino acids. Complex carbohydrates are digested into glucose. The major part of digestion takes place in the duodenum.

No digestion takes place in jejunum. The inner wall in the ileum is projected into numerous finger-like structures, called villi. Villi increase the surface area inside the ileum so that optimum absorption can take place. Moreover, villi also reduce the lumen of the ileum so that food can stay for longer duration in it, allowing enough time for optimum absorption. Digested food is absorbed by villi.

Large Intestine: Large intestine is smaller than small intestine. Undigested food goes into the large intestine. Some water and salt are absorbed by the walls of the large intestine. After that, the undigested food goes to the rectum, from where it is expelled out through the anus.


► YouTube Video

Copyright © excellup 2014