Date of Award

Spring 1950

Document Type



Chemistry & Physics


The primary purpose of this thesis was to perform a food analysis of the prickly pear cactus (Opuntia Polycantha) in order to ascertain the percentage of the six basic constituent groups; (1) water or moisture, (2) fat, (3) protein, (4) crude fiber, (5) ash, (6) Nitrogen-free-extract. Because the prickly pear cactus grows in profusion in Montana in areas otherwise useless for agriculture, a use for this plant as forage would be a distinct advantage to the farmers of the state. With this end in view we have initiated a series of analyses on the prickly pear cactus, by performing a food analysis to determine the feasibility of cactus as an emergency fodder for livestock. An examination of the Chemical Abstracts from 1930 - 1949 reveals that no analytical work has been performed on the prickly pear cactus (Opuntia Polycantha).