Sweet taste in the calf: III. Behavioral responses to sweeteners

G. Hellekant, C. Hård af Segerstad, T. W. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The hedonic response to the sweeteners acesulfame-K, aspartame, fructose, galactose, glucose, glycine, lactose, maltose, Na-saccharine, sucrose, and xylitol was recorded in five groups of 4-16-week-old calves. The compounds were presented to the calves for 12 or 24 h in two-bottle preference tests with tap water as one choice. Glycine (10 mM and higher), sucrose (20 mM and higher), and fructose concentrations were most preferred. Sodium-saccharine was highly preferred at and above 4 mM concentration, fructose and lactose were preferred above 40 mM, galactose was preferred moderately, acesulfame-K and maltose were preferred inconsistently, and aspartame and xylitol were not preferred at any concentration. The change of preference during the tests was also studied. Three types of consumption changes were observed. 1) Increased preference of the tastant during consumption, seen during sucrose and, to lesser a extent, fructose consumption. 2) Initial high preference for the tastants, diminishing during the test period, observed with fructose, galactose, glucose, glycine, lactose, and maltose. 3) Initial large fluctuations in consumption from the two bottles, but no change in overall preference. This pattern was seen with xylitol and aspartame. This technique seems to offer a method to assess the long-term preference for a compound within one relatively short two-bottle preference session.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-562
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1994
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are indebted to Mr. A. Tsang for statistical analysis. This study was supported by the US Department of Agriculture, HATCH project 5153, and NIH AA9391.


  • Acesulfam-K
  • Aspartame
  • Calf
  • Cattle
  • Glycine
  • Gustation
  • Saccharides
  • Sweetener
  • Taste
  • Two-bottle preference


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