GCSE Biology revision
Enzymes and digestion - making your GCSE Science revision digestible!
The human digestive system is a complex thing and it is important that you know some key facts to tackle your GCSE Biology exam. Firstly, let’s take a look at the digestion system and all the different parts that it is made of:
The mouth - this is where food enters the body and where the process of digestion begins
The salivary glands - these are glands in the mouth which produce saliva and an enzyme called amylase
The oesophagus - this is the muscular tube located in your throat which squeezes food into the stomach
The stomach - the organ where digestion continues
The pancreas - produces enzymes which speed up the digestion process
The liver - produces bile which breaks down fats into fatty acids which can be absorbed
The gall bladder - this is where bile is produced before it is released into the duodenum
Small intestine (duodenum) - here the food is mixed with digestive enzymes and bile
Small intestine (ileum) - here the digested food is absorbed into the bloodstream
Large intestine (colon) - this is the part that reabsorbs water from the process
Large intestine (rectum) - this is where the final product of digestions - the faeces - are stored
Large intestine (anus) - this is the point where the faeces exit the body
Enzymes are a vital part of the digestion process - without them, digestion will not take place. There are different types, and together they break down large insoluble food molecules into small, water-soluble molecules.
Each enzyme breaks down a different product with a different result. Take a look:
Protease enzymes break down proteins to produce amino acids
Lipase enzymes break down fats and oils into fatty acids and glycerol
Maltase enzymes break down maltose into glucose
It is crucial that you understand the function of the different enzymes. To help you remember we have produced a song which tells you about some of these enzymes and their functions. Take a listen here and learn all what you need to know for GCSE Science.
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