PAA_Research PAA on Sage Brush
The volatile oil content of sage brush is known to be a strong indicator of both the flammability of sagebrush as well as its forage value for open range livestock<ref name="Sage1968">File:SageBrushMg-vs-VolOil Powell.pdf </ref>. The volatile oils in sagebrush leaves impede the growth of rumen micro-organisms thereby decreasing an animal's appetite. The amount of Magnesium in sagebrush leaves has been shown to be strongly correlated with the volatile oil content of sagebrush. We studied the potential to use Photon Activation Analysis at the Idaho Accelerator Center as a means to measure the Magnesium content of sagebrush. The figure below illustrates our ability to identify the presence of Magnesium in sagebrush leaves. With further work, this method has the potential to provide ranchers and fire prevention services with a means of monitoring the forage value and fire risk of Idaho's sagebrush population.