Difference between Monogastric and Polygastric Digestive System

Monogastric Digestive System

The monogastric organisms have a digestive system with a single-chambered stomach. The monogastric herbivores can digest cellulose with the help of symbiotic bacteria in the gut region. Their cellulose digestion is not as efficient as the ruminants.

  • Monogastric herbivore – Rabbits
  • Monogastric omnivore – Humans
  • Monogastric carnivore – Cats

This type of digestion starts with the mouth or buccal region. The saliva helps in moistening the food and initiates digestion. After that, the food moves to the oesophagus, stomach and intestine for further digestion. Various enzymes and acids are involved in the whole process.

Explore: Human Digestive System

Polygastric Digestive System

Ruminants are polygastric organisms as their digestive system has a stomach with four compartments. The four compartments are –

  • Rumen
  • Reticulum
  • Omasum
  • Abomasum

Most herbivores like cows, sheep, goats and deer have a polygastric system as they are effective in cellulose digestion.

Digestion

The initial action in the mouth does not involve much chemical or mechanical digestion. The food is usually bought back and re-chewed in the process of rumination. Here, the rumen bacteria play a vital role in breaking the cellulose. Also, they convert them into volatile fatty acids.

Also Read: Digestion in Ruminants

Difference between Monogastric and Polygastric Digestive System

Monogastric Digestive System

Polygastric Digestive System

Definition

This type of digestive system includes a single-compartment stomach.

This type of digestive system includes a four-chambered stomach.

Stomach

Only one compartment/chamber.

Four compartments/chambers.

Cellulose Digestion

Monogastric herbivores show partial cellulose digestion.

Ruminants or polygastric animals show complete cellulose digestion.

Bacterial Action

Only the gut bacteria of monogastric herbivores can partially digest cellulose.

The bacteria present in ruminants play a vital role in breaking cellulose.

Rumination

They do not regurgitate and chew the food.

They regurgitate and chew the food to stimulate digestion.

Examples

Humans, Rabbits, Cats, etc.

Cows, Sheep, Goats, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is hindgut and foregut fermentation?

Hindgut fermentation is a term used to describe the digestive process in monogastric animals. The hindgut fermenters (horse, rabbit, etc.) can partially digest cellulose with the help of gut microbiota. The foregut fermentation includes a complete breakdown of cellulose, and it is seen in polygastric animals like cows and goats.

What is cud?

The partially chewed food that’s returned from the stomach of ruminants is termed as cud. The cud again reaches the mouth for a second time for a proper breakdown. The cud is produced by ruminants during the process of rumination.

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