Methodology for measuring taste and odor preference of rodents
Taste enhancers and olfactory attractants are needed to improve bait acceptance for rodent control, but most methods for evaluating preference for taste and odor stimuli are not suitable for screening large numbers of such compounds. This paper describes two automated preference testers designed for this purpose. The taste preference apparatus is based on the principle of the brief-exposure, foods-together technique, whereby the animal briefly samples each food alone, in alternate sequence, before the two foods are presented together, in alternate positions. The odor preference tester is based on an open-field maze, whereby the test animal samples each of four odor sources before preference behavior is recorded. Both devices are fully automated (in both operation and data recording), are free of position bias, and produce preference determinations in relatively little time; neither requires special training of test animals. The design, operation, and application of each apparatus in rodent control is discussed and illustrated.