Copyright

Intracellular & Extracellular Digestion

Intracellular & Extracellular Digestion
Coming up next: Cell Nucleus: Definition & Examples

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

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Types of Digestion
  • 0:39 Extracellular Digestion
  • 2:26 Intracellular Digestion
  • 3:26 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

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amanda Robb
In this lesson, we'll explore intracellular and extracellular digestion. We'll go over what each term means, and see examples of each type of digestion.

Types of Digestion

Did you ever think about what happens when you have your snack? Sure, you chew and swallow, but how does the food actually get to your brain cells? The answer is through your digestive system. During digestion, we break food down into smaller parts called nutrients that our cells can use. This type of digestion is called extracellular digestion. But there is also another type of digestion, known as intracellular digestion. Today we're going to explore both types of digestion and check out some examples you might not be as familiar with.

Extracellular Digestion

The prefix 'extra' means outside, which tells us that extracellular digestion occurs outside the cell. During extracellular digestion, food is broken down outside the cell either mechanically or with acid by special molecules. These special molecules are called enzymes. Nearby cells then absorb the newly broken down nutrients. Humans use extracellular digestion when we eat. Our teeth grind the food, enzymes and acid in the stomach liquify it, and additional enzymes in the small intestine break the food down into parts our cells can use.

Although fungi don't have a digestive tract like humans, they still use extracellular digestion! Fungi and other decomposers essentially suck the life out of the substrate they grow on. Picture some delicious, red strawberries overcome by mold on your kitchen counter. The mold is actually a fungus, secreting chemicals that break down the strawberries. The fungi cells then absorb the nutrients released. If you let those strawberries sit a while longer, they would be completely liquefied! Gross, right?

Another example of extracellular digestion is the hydra, or sea anemone. Although a hydra could pass for an underwater plant, it is actually an animal. A large cavity, called the gastrovascular cavity, fills the center of the animal, with one opening for both food and waste. When unsuspecting prey swim into the opening, stinging cells paralyze the prey. The hydra uses its tentacles to push the prey further into the cavity, where enzymes are secreted to break down the food. Once the food is broken down into nutrients, the cells of the hydra can absorb it for energy.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com 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 Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
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? Study.com 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
Support