The beginning of the digestive process starts with the smell and sight of food which activate the salivary glands. The mouth is the point at which food enters the digestive tract and continues the digestive process by chewing food. The food is then broken down into pieces and moistened by salivary glands which turn food into a bolus. The bolus goes down the pharynx into the esophagus which connects the pharynx to the stomach. The stomach is an organ that mixes food and secretes gastric juice. The bolus, once in the stomach, is mixed into a semiliquid mass called chime. The stomach is close together with the liver and pancreas but does not get assistance from these organs. The chime then enters the small intestine where the liver and pancreas also begin to work. The intestine is a tube-shaped organ that is part of the digestive tract where digestion of ingested food is completed and the majority of nutrient absorption occurs. The small intestine is broken down into parts known as duodenum, jejunum and ileum. Additional secretions that aid in the digestive process come from the liver, gallbladder and pancreas. The components of chime that are not absorbed into the small intestine moved into the large intestine through a sphincter. The large intestine includes both the colon and the rectum and is part of the gastrointestinal tract. Additional absorption of water, minerals and vitamins occur in the colon before being released from the body as waste.
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