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Extracellular digestion

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A form of digestion wherein the breaking down of materials into smaller, absorbable components takes place outside the cell.


In extracellular digestion, the materials or food particles are broken down chemically into smaller components outside the cell or onto the digestive system spaces.

For example, fungi feed on their food by secreting digestive enzymes to digest their food externally, which they later absorb. In mammals, the process takes place within the lumen of the digestive system.

Word origin: extracellular + digestion

Compare: intracellular digestion