Quality control in the field can be done by the farmer using an inexpensive refractometer. A few drops of sap or plant juice are placed on the sloping end under the clear cover.Looking through the eyepiece towards the light, the intersection of the blue and white gives a reading off the scale in °Brix (%sucrose). The higher the reading the higher the sugar content for any given species. High sugar content also means higher protein, higher minerals and greater density. The higher the figure the more nutitious and sweeter tasting

with lower nitrate and water content.Plants with higher °Brix (generally 12 or greater) are more resistant to insect, viral and fungal attack and last longer in storage. In fact they tend to dehydrate rather than rot. Crops with higher solids content are more resistant to freezing and thus less prone to frost damage.Crops in the field can be tested and sprayed with a foliar feed or other treatment and retested after a short while to see if they have responded with a increased Brix reading, thus indicating the suitability of the treatment.



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