Chyme: Definition & Function

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Afferent Arteriole: Definition & Function

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:30 Mechanical Digestion
  • 1:19 Chemical Digestion
  • 1:53 The Stomach &…
  • 2:57 The Stomach & Chemical…
  • 3:36 Where Does It Go?
  • 4:18 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sarah Phenix
In this lesson we will learn what chyme is and where it's produced as well as how it's produced, the function it serves, and what factors influence the creation of this substance.

What Is Chyme?

If you've ever gotten sick and thrown up, then you are intimately familiar with what chyme is and the varied ways it can appear. Chyme (pronounced KIME) is that thick, highly acidic, semifluid material formed by the digestive juices of your stomach interacting with the food you've consumed. It's the product of two forms of digestion - mechanical digestion and chemical digestion - and you can't get the nutrients you need without it.

Mechanical Digestion

Did you know that from the very second you take a bite of food, your digestive process has begun? Your teeth are responsible for mechanical digestion, or physically breaking up food. Their purpose is to take that original food item, like an apple, and break it into smaller pieces. This speeds up digestion and make the entire process easier for your body.

Why are smaller pieces easier to digest? Well, imagine the difference between trying to dissolve an entire piece of rock candy in a glass of water versus granulated sugar. Now, they're both made out of the same thing, but it would take the rock candy a lot longer to dissolve. That's because the granulated sugar crystals have a higher surface area, meaning that more of each crystal is able to interact with the water surrounding it than the larger piece of rock candy.

Chemical Digestion

As you chew and mechanically break down that bite of food into smaller pieces, you're also mixing in your saliva. This is chemical digestion, the breaking down of food using enzymes or acids. Your saliva actually has digestive enzymes in it that specifically break down things like carbohydrates and fats. What about proteins, you ask? Well, that's actually one job of the stomach, and we'll get to that in just a moment. So, once you've chewed your food enough, you swallow it down your esophagus and send it on it's way to chyme production in your stomach.

The Stomach & Mechanical Digestion

Organs of the Abdomen
Organs of the Abdomen

Your stomach is a kidney bean-shaped organ that sits right below your liver. Now, digestion is the sole purpose of this organ and it takes its job very seriously, employing both mechanical and chemical digestion. The walls of your stomach actually have three layers of muscle tissue so that, when they contract they form a rhythmic, wave-like action down the length of your stomach, called peristalsis. This peristaltic action mechanically churns the contents of your stomach, mixing the food you just swallowed with the digestive juices secreted by the lining of your stomach.

Layers of the Stomach
Layers of the Stomach

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account