Food preference of young rhesus monkeys fed marginally zinc deficient diets

Mari S. Golub, Carl L Keen, Andrew G Hendrickx, M. Eric Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Zinc deprivation has been shown to produce hypogeusia in rhesus monkeys but the possible consequences of altered taste sensitivity for food preference and selection is not known. We studied 13 rhesus monkeys (2.5 to 3 years of age) for food preference in a structured choice situation. These animals were fed two levels of dietary zinc: marginally zinc deprived (fed 4 μg zinc/g diet from conception and throughout development;N=6), or control (fed a 100 μg zinc/g diet throughout the study;N=7). Preference for familiar vs unfamiliar food items, order of food preferences, persistence in retrieval of preferred and nonpreferred foods, and preference under four deprivation periods were examined. Animals were offered a choice of two food items, both containing minimal zinc levels, and food choice and latency of choice were measured. Results indicate that animals fed the marginal zinc diets had reduced preference for unfamiliar foods relative to controls and different patterns of food preference. These results may be relevant to maintenance of appropriate food selection in marginally zinc deprived populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-59
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1991


  • Behavior
  • Development
  • Diet
  • Food intake
  • Food preference
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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