The Atago PAL-1 will give a BRIX reading for fruit, vegetables, grasses and crops (0-53% Brix +/-0.2%, auto temperature compensated). These instruments are already essential in the horticultural industry for estimating the dissolved sugar percentage of grapes and kiwifruit, etc. The Brix scale measures the dissolved percentage of sucrose in an assumed pure solution.
This refractometer complements biological and organic growing practices. If you look after your soil properly, (encourage soil activity like worms, microbes etc), the crops growing in it will increase their Brix reading over a year or two, and this indicates the total percent solids (complex factors) dissolved in the plant juice or sap is increasing. So more sucrose, fructose, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins in the crop.
The Brix readings should equate to the quality of the measured item. In the case of fruit and vegetables, it is also a guideline to the perceived taste and flavour. Put simply, human food crops with higher than normal Brix readings taste terrific, and they keep longer. Google Brix and vegetables for a lot more detail. There is very little information on the use of a Brix meter with grass, but we have Brix tested some local paddocks and sent 7 samples to a lab (November 2008). We achieved a high correlation of the Brix readings at a constant time of day (afternoon sun) to the percentage of soluble sugars in the pasture leaf (0.86). If you are looking for higher-sugar crops for your animals, the Brix meter will find them for you.
With the PAL-1, you simply squash out three drops of grass blade sap with a garlic press onto the cell, and within 3 seconds you'll have a reading in percentage Brix on the display. We have not found any other portable instruments that are as useful in measuring grass sugar content.
For horticulturalists: there are Brix tables available on the Internet which list low, average and excellent Brix readings for most classes of fruit and vegetables. You could use the PAL-1 to evaluate your own crops, or when buying at the supermarket. Produce buyers are also encouraged to look into this technique.
12 month warranty, sent with a free quality stainless steel garlic press worth $50.