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- Author or Editor: F. C. Elliott x
A consistent preference by the meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus, for the roots of certain inbred carrot lines and hybrids observed in field plantings suggested the possibility of using these animals to evaluate carrot breeding material for nutritive value and culinary quality. In a preliminary field test, 50 carrot lines representing the full range of feeding damage were planted in a confined feeding experiment. Lines showing no damage and severe damage were selected for controlled feeding trials and further evaluation.
In laboratory ad libitum feeding tests, all carrot diets were inferior to control diets. There was no relationship between vole preference and the nutritive value of the carrots as measured by the growth response of weanling voles. However, vole preference showed a significant positive correlation with the sucrose content of the roots while a significant negative correlation was found between preference and total reducing sugars. Neither growth response nor vole preference was correlated with crude fiber, protein, or total carbohydrates. No correlation was found between taste panel scores for overall rating of carrot samples and ad lib. feeding indexes by the voles.