eLife (Mar 2021)

An open-source device for measuring food intake and operant behavior in rodent home-cages

  • Bridget A Matikainen-Ankney,
  • Thomas Earnest,
  • Mohamed Ali,
  • Eric Casey,
  • Justin G Wang,
  • Amy K Sutton,
  • Alex A Legaria,
  • Kia M Barclay,
  • Laura B Murdaugh,
  • Makenzie R Norris,
  • Yu-Hsuan Chang,
  • Katrina P Nguyen,
  • Eric Lin,
  • Alex Reichenbach,
  • Rachel E Clarke,
  • Romana Stark,
  • Sineadh M Conway,
  • Filipe Carvalho,
  • Ream Al-Hasani,
  • Jordan G McCall,
  • Meaghan C Creed,
  • Victor Cazares,
  • Matthew W Buczynski,
  • Michael J Krashes,
  • Zane B Andrews,
  • Alexxai V Kravitz

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10


Read online

Feeding is critical for survival, and disruption in the mechanisms that govern food intake underlies disorders such as obesity and anorexia nervosa. It is important to understand both food intake and food motivation to reveal mechanisms underlying feeding disorders. Operant behavioral testing can be used to measure the motivational component to feeding, but most food intake monitoring systems do not measure operant behavior. Here, we present a new solution for monitoring both food intake and motivation in rodent home-cages: the Feeding Experimentation Device version 3 (FED3). FED3 measures food intake and operant behavior in rodent home-cages, enabling longitudinal studies of feeding behavior with minimal experimenter intervention. It has a programmable output for synchronizing behavior with optogenetic stimulation or neural recordings. Finally, FED3 design files are open-source and freely available, allowing researchers to modify FED3 to suit their needs.