Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Neuroscience

Supervisor

Klaus-Peter Ossenkopp, Martin Kavaliers

Abstract

Foraging animals must learn which foods in their environment will maximize their nutritional needs but minimize the amount of ingested toxins. These animals rely on the integration of sensory and gustatory information and post-ingestive feedback from the foods they consume. Gustatory conditioning can be studied by using the conditioned taste avoidance paradigm and the toxin LiCl. This thesis first examined the dose related effects of low levels of LiCl on the ingestion of different palatable sucrose and salt solutions. The present findings support the hypothesis that rats use a behavioural tolerance mechanism to regulate their intake of foods containing low levels of toxins. Possible toxin-nutrient trade-off behaviours were also examined. It was found that when presented with a palatable sweetener and salt solution, rats will increase their consumption of the toxic food only when the calorie reward is high.


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