Table 1

Methods to characterize taste in non-human animals

Information

Method


Long-term two-bottle preference

Brief-access licking responses

CTA

Electrophysiological recording of taste-evoked activity in gustatory nerves


Sensitivity (threshold)

+/- a

+/- a

+

+

Intensity

+

+

-

+

Hedonic (pleasant or unpleasant) properties

+

+

-

-

Taste quality

-

-

+

+/-b

Specificity

Can be influenced by post-ingestive effects

Minimizes postingestive effects; can be influenced by water restriction

Can be influenced by non-taste sensory properties (e.g., odor), learning ability or sensitivity to an unconditioned stimulus

Directly assesses peripheral neural response


+, test is primarily designed to assess a particular aspect of taste perception (e.g., intensity or quality); +/-, limited information regarding the aspect of taste perception can be derived from test results; -, test is not informative regarding the aspect of taste perception. a Response thresholds of naive (not conditioned) animals are often higher that taste recognition thresholds in conditioned animals. b Taste quality can be assessed using analysis of single-fiber activity, but not using integrated whole-nerve recordings. All types of tests have been used in genetic experiments, but two-bottle preference tests have the highest throughput of phenotyping.

Boughter and Bachmanov BMC Neuroscience 2007 8(Suppl 3):S3   doi:10.1186/1471-2202-8-S3-S3

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