Villus of the small intestine - microvilli on the surface of intestinal columnar epithelial cell (human), animated coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM). Note the goblet cellproduced mucopolysaccharide matrix (epithelial glycocalyx) between the microvilli. The small intestine is the part of the gastrointestinal tract between the stomach and the large intestine. It is where most of the digestion and absorption of food takes place, via the villi, which increase its surface area. The villi have an outer epithelial cell layer (columnar epithelial cells) that possess many tiny microvilli. Microvilli are tiny finger-like projections, which increase the surface area available for absorption of nutrients such as lipids, proteins and fat-soluble vitamins. The microvilli have a rapid turnover of 3-4 days. Magnification: x5, 950 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.