Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The studies presented below concern the physiological and behavioral effects of zinc deficiency. One group of dams were fed a zinc- deficient diet from the morning of day 14 to the morning of day 19 of the pregnancy. A second group was given the same amount of food as was eaten by their zinc-deficient counterpart (pair-fed) plus water containing 50 ppm zinc, thus they were not zinc-deficient but did experience starvation. A third group was fed the diet ad libitum and given the zinc-supplemented water. Dams' food intake, weight gain, food efficiency and pups per litter were determined. Pups' birth weight, weight at 40 days of age, mortality rate, total errors, whole body errors, maze running time (the preceding three measures of behavior were measured in an alley Tolman-Honzik maze), number of conditioned responses (CR's), response latencies, and percent escape where the subject (S_) did not avoid (the preceding three measures of behavior were measured in a two-way platform avoidance box) were determined. The maze learning and avoidance conditioning measures were made on randomly selected female pups.

The dams' physiological results showed the zinc-deficient Ss inferior to the pair-fed and ad libitum-fed j>s concerning food consumption, weight gain and food efficiency; while litter size was not affected. Mortality rate was the only significantly different physiological measurement on the pups; the zinc-deficient group had the highest pup mortality rate followed by the pair-fed and ad libitum- fed groups. Generally the results of the maze acquisition and avoidance conditioning showed the zinc-deficient female S_s learned the maze faster and were avoidance conditioned better, but not significantly so, than the ad libitum and pair-fed female Ss.