Behavioral Study in the Gray Mouse Lemur (Microcebus murinus) Using Compounds Considered Sweet by Humans

Alain Schilling, Vicktoria Danilova, Goran Hellekant

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9 Scopus citations


This study presents the results from two-bottle preference (TBP) tests performed on the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus), a small Malagasy primate. We found that of 18 compounds considered sweet by humans, M. murinus preferred only six: D-tryptophan, dulcin, fructose, sucrose, SC45647, and xylitol. The animals neither preferred nor rejected acesulfame-K, alitame, aspartame, N-4-cyanophenyl-N′-cyanoguanidineacetate (CCGA), cyanosuosan, cyclamate, monellin, saccharin, suosan, super-aspartame, N-trifluoroacetyl-L- glutamyl-4-aminophenylcarbonitrile (TGC), and thaumatin. Together with previously recorded taste-nerve responses in M. murinus to acesulfame-K, alitame, aspartame, cyclamate, monellin, saccharin, and suosan [Hellekant et al., Chem Senses 18:307-320, 1993b], the current results suggest that these compounds either do not taste sweet to M. murinus or they have an aversive taste component. In this work we also relate these findings to phylogeny.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-48
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of primatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


  • Mouse lemur
  • Receptors
  • Sweet taste
  • Taste coding
  • Taste qualities
  • Two-bottle preference


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