The Liver and Gallbladder The digestive function of the liver is to produce bile, which is then delivered to the duodenum to emulsify fats. Emulsification is the breaking up of fat globules into smaller fat droplets, increasing the surface area upon which fat-digesting enzymes (lipases) can operate. Because bile is not involved in breaking any chemical bonds, it is not an enzyme. It is an emulsifier. Bile is also alkaline, serving to help neutralize the HCl in the chyme. Bile consists of bile salts, bile pigments, phospholipids (including lecithin), cholesterol, and various ions. The primary bile pigment, bilirubin, is an end product of the breakdown of hemoglobin from expended red blood cells. The bile that is lost via the feces consists of bilirubin. This is the body's natural way of getting rid of bilirubin. Bilirubin gives the feces a brown color.
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This note was uploaded on 11/10/2011 for the course PT 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '10 term at Texas State.