a. Consolidation of Contents. In the large intestines, this fluid mass is gradually consolidated into a semisolid mass called feces. The major function of the large intestines then is salvage. Water is the primary salvage item. In addition to water, some previously unabsorbed endproducts of digestion can be absorbed here. At the same time certain excretions from the body can be deposited in the fecal mass.
b. Mucus. As the contents increase in solidity, mucus is added to facilitate their movement through the large intestines. (Previously, we have seen the addition of mucus to the bolus in the mouth to facilitate movement.) This mucus is produced by unicellular glands in the mucosal lining of the large intestines. (Because of their microscopic appearance, these unicellular glands are called goblet cells.)
c. Organisms. Many microorganisms are found within the lumen or cavity of the large intestines. Certain microorganisms are responsible for the production of vitamin K. Depending on the type of food present, some species of microorganisms produce various gases (flatulence). On occasion, pathogenic organisms may be present and cause problems for the individual.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.