The colonic environment markedly differs from other parts of the gastrointestinal tract as illustrated in Table 7.1. The absorptive capacity of the colon is much less than that of the small intestine, due mainly to the reduced surface area. The mucosal surface of the colon is similar to that of the small intestine at birth, but rapidly changes by losing villi leaving a flat mucosa with deep crypts. As the gut ages there is a decrease in the number of non-goblet crypt cells and this is related to an increase in faecal water7.
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