Stearate-modified graphite paste electrodes were implanted chronically into dopamine terminal regions in the nucleus accumbens or caudate nucleus of the rat. Reverse dialysis was used to demonstrate a selective response of these electrodes to dopamine, but not 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid or ascorbic acid. In a separate behavioural experiment, a significant increase in the chronoamperometric response was observed during presentation of a conditional stimulus predictive of food, and the electrochemical response remained elevated during and following consumption of the meal. Similar trends were observed from electrodes in the caudate nucleus. These data confirm the activation of mesolimbic dopamine neurons by incentive stimuli predictive of food and possibly by consumption of food. Together with other recent data on sex- and thirst-related increases in dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens, these findings are consistent with a role for the nucleus accumbens as an interface between motivation and activation of the motor system.