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Question Video: Identifying the Source of Digestive Enzymes Biology

The diagram given shows the basic outline of the human digestive system. The pancreas produces and releases a large amount of digestive enzymes. Which number points to the pancreas on the diagram?

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Video Transcript

The diagram given shows the basic outline of the human digestive system. The pancreas produces and releases a large amount of digestive enzymes. Which number points to the pancreas on the diagram?

The question asks us to identify the pancreas on a diagram of the digestive system, so let’s begin with a quick review of the process of digestion.

The digestive system helps us to extract essential nutrients from our food, and these nutrients allow our bodies to undergo growth and repair. Digestion begins when food is ingested through the mouth. Here, the teeth start mechanical digestion by physically separating food, while the enzyme amylase begins chemical digestion by breaking down the carbohydrate starch.

Once food is swallowed, it will travel through the esophagus to the next stop in the digestive process, the stomach. Here, digestion continues with the help of secretions from accessory organs, which are organs that food does not directly pass through, but which are part of the digestive system. Accessory organs include the liver and the pancreas.

The liver produces bile, which is not an enzyme but rather a substance that emulsifies fat molecules, meaning it breaks them into smaller droplets. Emulsification of fats is a crucial step because it gives fat-digesting enzymes, called lipases, better access to the lipid molecules. So, the liver is an accessory organ of the digestive system because it increases the efficiency of fat digestion.

The pancreas, which sits behind the stomach, secretes protein-digesting enzymes called proteases, as well as lipases and amylase, into the top of the small intestine. Interestingly, the pancreas also produces several hormones, including insulin and glucagon, which are responsible for regulating blood glucose levels. These hormones are secreted directly into the bloodstream, instead of through ducts. This means that the pancreas is considered both an endocrine and an exocrine gland.

Once food has been chemically and mechanically digested in the stomach, it will move into the small intestine, which is the main site of nutrient absorption. Despite its name, the small intestine is nearly seven meters long when uncoiled. After all the useful compounds in the food have been absorbed, the remaining waste products make their way to the large intestine. This organ is responsible for absorbing water and creating solid waste products. These wastes are then released from the body to complete the digestive process.

Now that we’ve reviewed each organ in the given diagram, we can answer our question. The number that points to the pancreas on the diagram is two.

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