Which part of the small intestine is responsible for absorption of nutrients?
Intestinal villi (singular: villus) are small, finger-like projections that extend into the lumen of the small intestine. Each villus is approximately 0.5–1.6 mm in length (in humans), and has many microvilli projecting from the enterocytes of its epithelium which collectively form the striated or brush border. Each of these microvilli are about 1 µm in length, around 1000 times shorter than a single villus. The intestinal villi are much smaller than any of the circular folds in the intestine.
Villi increase the internal surface area of the intestinal walls making available a greater surface area for absorption. An increased absorptive area is useful because digested nutrients pass into the semipermeable villi through diffusion, which is effective only at short distances.
The villi are connected to the blood vessels so the circulating blood then carries these nutrients away.