Difference Between Colon and Large Intestine

Main Difference – Colon vs Large Intestine

Mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and anus are the components of the alimentary canal. Cecum, colon, rectum, and the anal canal are the components of the large intestine. Large intestine starts at the right iliac region of the pelvis. It absorbs water from the indigestible materials of the food. Colon is composed of four parts: ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, and sigmoid colon. The main difference between colon and large intestine is that colon is the largest part of the large intestine whereas large intestine is the water-absorbing part of the alimentary canal.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Colon
      – Definition, Anatomy, Physiology
2. What is Large Intestine
      – Definition, Anatomy, Physiology
3. What are the Similarities Between Colon and Large Intestine
      – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Colon and Large Intestine
      – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Alimentary Canal, Cecum, Colon, Large Intestine, Rectum, Vitamins, Water absorption

Difference Between Colon and Large Intestine - Comparison Summary

What is Colon

Colon is a part of a large intestine, which extends from the cecum to the rectum. It is the largest part of the large intestine. The absorption of water and salts is the main function of the colon. The four segments of the colon are the ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, and the sigmoid colon.

Colon consists of a large number of bacteria, which helps in the digestive process. These bacteria also produce vitamins such as vitamin B12, riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamin K. Fermentation of carbohydrates and fatty acids is also taken place in the large intestine. Though colon lacks a nerve supply, it comprises smooth muscles, which control the movements of the colon. Waste materials are stored in the colon until they are eliminated from the body. 

What is Large Intestine

Large intestine refers to the terminal portion of the alimentary canal, which absorbs water to produce the feces. It also absorbs vitamins and remaining nutrients. Cecum, colon, rectum, and the anal canal are the four segments of the large intestine. The anatomy of the large intestine is shown in figure 2.

Difference Between Colon and Large Intestine

Figure 1: Large Intestine

Large intestine is also involved in the reducing acidity of the body. It performs an immune function by protecting the body from pathogen infections. It produces antibodies as well. Large intestine stores the indigestible materials of food and removes them through defection. The nerve receptors in the rectum aid the defection.   

Similarities Between Colon and Large Intestine

  • Both colon and large intestine are two components of the alimentary canal.
  • Water absorption occurs in both colon and large intestine.

Difference Between Colon and Large Intestine

Definition

Colon: Colon is a part of the large intestine, which extends from the cecum to the rectum.

Large Intestine: Large intestine is the terminal part of the alimentary canal, which absorbs water to produce the feces.

Correspondence

Colon: Colon is the biggest part of the large intestine.

Large Intestine: Large intestine is the last section of the alimentary canal.

Components

Colon: Colon is composed of four components: ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, and sigmoid colon.

Large Intestine: Large intestine is composed of cecum, colon, rectum, and anal canal.

Function

Colon: Colon absorbs water and salts from the indigestible materials of the food.

Large Intestine: Large intestine performs many functions.

Muscles

Colon: Colon mainly contains smooth muscles.

Large Intestine: Large intestine contains both smooth muscles and skeletal muscles.

Nerve Receptors

Colon: Colon lacks nerve receptors.

Large Intestine: Large intestine consists of nerve receptors, which are involved in defecation.

Conclusion

Colon and large intestine are two structural components of the alimentary canal. Cecum, colon, rectum, and anal canal are the segments of the large intestine. Colon is mainly involved in the absorption of water. Large intestine stores and removes indigestible materials from the body. The main difference between colon and large intestine is the function of each segment in the alimentary canal.  

Reference:

1. “The Colon: What it is, What it Does.” The Colon: What it is, What it Does | ASCRS, Available here.
2. “5 Parts of the Large Intestine and Their Functions.” New Health Advisor, 3 Sept. 2015, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Blausen 0604 LargeIntestine2″ By “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014″. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. – Own work (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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