Ingestion is the consumption of a substance by an organism. In animals, it normally is accomplished by taking in the substance through the mouth into the gastrointestinal tract, such as through eating or drinking. In single-celled organisms, ingestion can take place through taking the substance through the cell wall.

Besides nutritional items, other substances which may be ingested include medications, recreational drugs, and substances considered inedible such as foreign bodies or excrement. Ingestion is a common route taken by pathogenic organisms and poisons entering the body.

Ingestion can also refer to a mechanism picking up something and making it enter an internal hollow of that mechanism, e.g. "a grille was fitted to prevent the pump from ingesting driftwood".


Some pathogens are transmitted via ingestion, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Most commonly, this takes place via the fecal-oral route. An intermediate step is often involved, such as drinking water contaminated by feces or food prepared by workers who fail to practice adequate hand-washing, and is more common in regions where untreated sewage is common. Diseases transmitted via the fecal-oral route include hepatitis A, polio, and cholera.

Some pathogenic organisms are typically ingested by other routes.
* Larvae of the parasite "Trichinella" encyst within muscles and are transmitted when a new host eats the infected flesh of a former host animal. [cite web | title = Trichinellosis | url = | publisher = Centers for Disease Control & Prevention | date = 2004 | accessdate = 2007-04-17 ]
* The parasite "Dracunculus" is ingested in drinking water, which is contaminated with larvae released as the parasite emerges from the host's body. [cite web | url = | title = Dracunculiasis | publisher = Centers for Disease Control & Prevention | date = 2005 | accessdate = 2007-04-17 ]
* The bacterium "Salmonella" most commonly infects humans via consumption of undercooked eggs. [cite journal | journal = Emerg Infect Dis (serial on the Internet) | volume = 11 | issue = 1 | date= 2005 | last = Schroeder | first = Carl M. | others = "et al." | url = | title = Estimate of Illnesses from "Salmonella" Enteritidis in Eggs, United States, 2000 | accessdate = 2007-04-17 ]

Foreign objects

Disk batteries, also called button cells, are often mistakenly ingested, particularly by children and the elderly. They may be mistaken for a medication pill because of their size and shape, or they may be swallowed after being held in the mouth while the battery is being changed. Battery ingestion can cause medical problems including blocked airway, vomiting, irritability, persistent drooling, and rash (due to nickel metal allergy). [ cite web | title = Battery Ingestion | url = | publisher = | date = August 10, 2005 | accessdate = 2007-04-15 ]

Pica is an abnormal appetite for non-nutritive objects or for food items in a form not normally eaten, such as flour. Coprophagia is the consumption of feces, a behavior common in some animals.


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  • ingestion — [ ɛ̃ʒɛstjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1825; bas lat. ingestio ♦ Physiol. Action d ingérer (des aliments, des boissons). Ingestion d alcool. Ingestion et digestion. ● ingestion nom féminin (bas latin ingestio, onis) Action d ingérer, d avaler. ingestion n. f.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ingestión — f. nutric. Acción de tomar alimentos o bebidas por las vías digestivas a través de la boca. Medical Dictionary. 2011. ingestión ac …   Diccionario médico

  • Ingestion — In*ges tion, n. [L. ingestio: cf. F. ingestion.] (Physiol.) The act of taking or putting into the stomach; as, the ingestion of milk or other food. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ingestión — sustantivo femenino 1. Uso/registro: elevado. (no contable) Acción y resultado de ingerir: La ingestión debe ser lenta. Sinónimo: deglución …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • Ingestion — (v. lat.), Einbringung von Nahrungsmitteln u. andern Stoffen durch den Mund in den Körper. Ingesta (Ingerenda), diese Stoffe selbst …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • ingestion — 1610s, from L. ingestionem (nom. ingestio) a pouring in, noun of action from pp. stem of ingerere (see INGEST (Cf. ingest)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • ingestión — (Del lat. ingestĭo, ōnis). f. Acción de ingerir …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • Ingestión — En este artículo sobre biología se detectaron los siguientes problemas: Necesita ser wikificado conforme a las convenciones de estilo de Wikipedia. Requiere una revisión ortográfica y gramatical. Por favor …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ingestion — Als Ingestion beschreibt man im physiologischen und medizinisch toxikologischen Bereich die Aufnahme eines Stoffes über den Mund bzw. Verdauungstrakt (im Gegensatz beispielsweise zur Aufnahme über die Haut oder Lunge, was als „Inkorporation“… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ingestion — L ingestion est l introduction d aliments ou de boissons par la bouche dans le système digestif. Voir aussi Sur les autres projets Wikimedia : « Ingestion », sur le Wiktionnaire (dictionnaire universel) Déglutition Digestion… …   Wikipédia en Français