Medical cannabis and cannabis grown for commercial purposes are cultivated in greenhouses and other controlled environments utilizing intensive cultural practices. These plants are often impacted by nutrient deficiency, as well as by fungal and bacterial infections. In our laboratory, we have witnessed evidence of this problem firsthand.
It’s very common for cannabis growers to send plants samples off to labs to determine their CBD and THC levels. While this information is critical for many growers, plant yields and ultimate profitability can be severely undermined by unnoticed nutritional deficiencies and pathogen infections.
Cannabis species are very susceptible to infection by fungi like Fusarium spp. and Pythium spp.
These pathogens are known for infecting economically important crops and causing severe plant damage (References: National Plant Diagnostic Network Fall 2016 edition Vol. 6 Number 4 and Summer edition Vol 10 Number 3). In addition, some Fusarium species secrete mycotoxins, which can cause serious illness or even death in humans. When infected with Fusarium, plants become systemically wilted and may eventually die. These pathogens are challenging to deal with, as they survive in soil and plant debris. Another issue currently plaguing cannabis crops is powdery mildew. When cannabis buds are infected with mildew, these buds are no longer viable for consumption. Early detection of fungus and mildew can eliminate these crop losses and boost overall yields. (Ref: McPartland, J. M., 1996. A review of Cannabis diseases. Journal of the International Hemp Association 3(1): 19-23.)
Early diagnosis and timely eradication is the key to keeping growing facilities, free from these diseases.
At Sunburst laboratory, we assist growers with the diagnosis of cannabis diseases that are the primary causes of substandard growth, as well as secondary opportunistic infections resulting from nutritional deficiency. Using both conventional and molecular methods, we are able to identify the exact species of the pathogen(s) responsible for the evident plant diseases, allowing growers to respond accordingly and improve the health and quality of their cannabis crops.
We currently offer plant tissue, soil, and water testing for a variety of common cannabis diseases.
Botrytis, also known as grey mold, is a fungus that can kill cannabis roots, stems, leaves, and buds. Botrytis is known for the grey coloration that infiltrates dead tissue.
Damping off is a disease caused by a number of fungi, including Botrytis, Fusarium, and Pythium. Damping off causes weakening of the seedling stem, causing infected plants to bend and eventually collapse to the ground and die.
Fusarium is a genus of soil-borne fungi which block the flow of sap within plants, resulting in browning and wilting, as well as rotting from the stem base.
Powdery mildew is a fungus that tends to show up in very warm, humid conditions. While this mildew isn’t terribly severe and is slow to kill plants, buds infected with the mildew are unsuitable for consumption.
This fungus, often referred to simply as mildew, blight, or water mold, causes yellow and translucent stains on plant leaves, eventually generating a layer of dust similar in appearance to powdery mildew. Plants infected with Phytophthora will wilt, show slowed growth, and eventually die. (Ref: McPartland, J. M., 1996. A review of Cannabis diseases. Journal of the International Hemp Association 3(1): 19-23.)
Contact SunBurst PDC today to see how we can help you enhance the health and yield of your cannabis crops.