Where Does Chemical Digestion Occur?

Where Does Chemical Digestion Occur
••• Anetlanda/iStock/GettyImages

Chemical digestion occurs when acids, enzymes and other secretions break down the food we eat into nutrients. Chemical digestion starts in the mouth and continues in the stomach, but most of the process occurs in the small intestine.

Types

Chemical digestion differs from mechanical digestion, which occurs in the mouth as the teeth grind and chew pieces of food. Some mechanical digestion also takes place in the stomach as the muscles churn food particles.

First Steps

Chemical digestion begins in the mouth. The enzyme amylase, found in saliva, starts breaking down carbohydrates.

Stomach's Role

Chemical digestion continues in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid and the enzyme pepsin work on digesting proteins.

Effects

A cocktail of enzymes in the small intestine completes the chemical digestion process. Most chemical digestion takes place in the duodenum portion of the small intestine.

Benefits

Chemical digestion breaks down carbohydrates, proteins and fats into sugars, amino acids and fatty acids that the body can absorb and use as fuel.

Related Articles

Where Does Respiration Occur?
Five Major Organ Systems of the Body
What Is the Sun's Role in Photosynthesis?
How to Convert Pounds Per Square Foot to PSI
Why Do We Need Enzymes for Digestion?
What Is the Primary Function of the Gallbladder?
How Does pH Level Affect Enzyme Activity?
Sodium Bicarbonate Secretion in the Body
What Are the Functions of Photosynthesis?
What Are the 10 Major Body Systems?
What Is Magnesium Carbonate?
How to Use Log on a TI-83
Characteristics of Aquatic Plants
How Are Photosynthesis & Cellular Respiration Related?
What Happens When Pepsin Mixes with Food in the Stomach?
Amylase Activity in the Stomach
What Classes Should You Take in Highschool if You Want...
How to Make a Working Heart Model
What Is Propylene Glycol
What are Two Ways That Enzymes Become Less Effective?