Colonic Physiology



  • The colon plays a role in digestion by fermenting complex carbohydrates and proteins that prove resistant to digestion and absorption in the more proximal intestine.

  • Ten percent of ingested carbohydrates enter the cecum and are fermented by saccharolytic and proteolytic species of bacteria, the majority of which are obligate anaerobes.

  • The diverse end products of bacterial fermentation include complex carbohydrates (fiber) and the short-chain fatty acids: butyrate [15 %], propionate [25 %], and acetate [60 %].

  • Complex carbohydrates are fermented primarily in the ascending and proximal transverse colon, while proteins are fermented in the distal colon.


Catheter Lignin Pancreatitis Radioactive Isotope Diarrhea 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Colorectal SurgeryCleveland Clinic FoundationClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Department of Colorectal SurgeryDigestive Disease Institute, The Cleveland Clinic FoundationClevelandUSA

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