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Biochemistry

Biochemistry Vocabulary

TermDefinition
alimentary canal The whole passage along which food passes through the body from mouth to anus.
anus the opening at the end of the alimentary canal through which solid waste matter leaves the body
appendicitis a serious medical condition in which the appendix becomes inflamed and painful
appendix a tube-shaped sac attached to and opening into the lower end of the large intestine in humans and some other mammals.
bile a bitter greenish-brown alkaline fluid that aids digestion and is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder.
chemical digestion the process in the alimentary canal by which food is broken up physically.
chyme the pulpy acidic fluid that passes from the stomach to the small intestine, consisting of gastric juices and partly digested food.
colon the part of the large intestine extending from the cecum to the rectum.
constipation a condition in which there is difficulty in emptying the bowels.
diarrhea a condition in which feces are discharged from the bowels frequently and in a liquid form.
esophagus the part of the alimentary canal that connects the throat to the stomach; the gullet. In humans and other vertebrates it is a muscular tube lined with mucous membrane.
feces waste matter discharged from the bowels after food has been digested; excrement.
gall bladder the small sac-shaped organ beneath the liver, in which bile is stored after secretion by the liver and before release into the intestine.
gastric juice a thin, clear, virtually colorless acidic fluid secreted by the stomach glands and active in promoting digestion.
large intestine the cecum, colon, and rectum collectively.
lipases a pancreatic enzyme that catalyzes the breakdown of fats to fatty acids and glycerol or other alcohols.
liver a large lobed glandular organ in the abdomen of vertebrates, involved in many metabolic processes.
mechanical digestion the breaking of food into digestive chunks, normally using the teeth.
mucus a slimy substance, typically not miscible with water, secreted by mucous membranes and glands for lubrication, protection.
oral cavity The part of the mouth behind the teeth and gums that is bounded above by the hard and soft palates and below by the tongue and the mucous membrane connecting it with the inner part of the mandible.
pancreas a large gland behind the stomach that secretes digestive enzymes into the duodenum. Embedded in the pancreas are the islets of Langerhans, which secrete into the blood the hormones insulin and glucagon.
pepsin the chief digestive enzyme in the stomach, which breaks down proteins into polypeptides.
peristalsis the involuntary constriction and relaxation of the muscles of the intestine or another canal, creating wavelike movements that push the contents of the canal forward.
ptyalin a form of amylase found in the saliva of humans and some other animals.
rectum the final section of the large intestine, terminating at the anus.
rennin an enzyme secreted into the stomach of unweaned mammals, and in some lower animals and plants, causing the curdling of milk.
saliva watery liquid secreted into the mouth by glands, providing lubrication for chewing and swallowing, and aiding digestion.
salivary glands any of the glands in mammals that secrete saliva.
small intestine the part of the intestine that runs between the stomach and the large intestine; the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum collectively.
stomach the internal organ in which the major part of the digestion of food occurs, being (in humans and many mammals) a pear-shaped enlargement of the alimentary canal linking the esophagus to the small intestine.
ulcer an open sore on an external or internal surface of the body, caused by a break in the skin or mucous membrane that fails to heal.
villi any of numerous minute elongated projections set closely together on a surface, typically increasing its surface area for the absorption of substances, in particular.
hydrochloric acid a strongly acidic solution of the gas hydrogen chloride in water.