News from the global agricultural technology industry.

The Top 3 Cannabis Pathogens that Plague Cannabis Cultivators

Cannabis photo

They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While cannabis cultivation may seem simple to the layman it is riddled with potential bumps in the road that could be extremely costly. Plant pathogens are just one of these bumps and they can lead to inferior product and can also greatly reduce yield and/or total crop loss if not dealt with swiftly. Early detection of such pathogens is paramount.  

Powdery Mildew

We’ve all seen it before – it’s that pesky white film on cannabis leaves and flowers that leaves a less than stellar bag appeal and makes for a harsher smoke with bad taste. Powdery mildew is a pain for cultivators to deal with once their grow has been afflicted and it is even harder to eradicate. Beyond being difficult to control and remove, powdery mildew is an obligate biotroph meaning that it cannot survive without taking nutrients from its host. This leads to a lackluster product with less robust trichomes resulting in lower cannabinoid and terpene production. It was initially reported by John MacPartland that the causal agent of powdery mildew was P. macularis however after numerous failed attempts by the Medicinal Genomics team to detect it using primers specific to this pathogen we decided to whole genome shotgun this pathogen. It turns out, the powdery mildew that infects cannabis is a unique species which is why the primers from the literature failed to amplify. This work revealed that its genome’s internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region sequence is 98% identical to P.macularis and Golovinomyces (the type of PM that infects grapes). This is a novel species that has been coined cannabis derived powdery mildew or CDPM which is not found on public genomic databases like NCBI therefore primers specific to this genome were developed by Medicinal Genomics.

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AgChem Consolidation Race

Horse Race

We are in the midst of a race among the world’s biggest agribusinesses to consolidate, driven by the needs of large players in the crop protection and seeds industry to increase economies of scale and production efficiencies. One way to achieve this is to consolidate and reach for synergies.

The race to consolidate was kicked off by Monsanto’s first takeover offer for Syngenta earlier this year; a takeover bid which ended in failure in August after Syngenta rejected Monsanto’s $44.6 billion offer.

The urgency within the industry to merge or acquire has since then been palpable with discussions ongoing between apparently all of the major players. The first to announce a successfully negotiated tie up are Dow Chemical and Dupont, two of the US’s oldest companies.

It seems likely that the next merger or acquisition will be with Syngenta in some shape or form. We know there are at least two active bids on the table. The first is Monsanto, which is understood to be renewing its offer for Syngenta, and the other is China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina).

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With loss of fumigants growers now face a daunting search for replacements

Timeline of Fumigant Regulations

To give their plants a healthy head start, many strawberry growers rely on soil fumigants to control nematodes, soil-borne fungal diseases and weeds. But these effective tools are on their way out. Environmental and health regulations, including the approaching phaseout of methyl bromide, have severely constrained the type and amount of fumigants that can be used.

Moreover, no new chemical soil treatments are in the pipeline, experts say. As a result growers face the scary prospect of raising strawberries with little fumigant or none at all. Researchers and farmers hope to replace fumigants by scaling up nonchemical soil treatments and developing disease resistant plant varieties and beneficial soil microbes.

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Strawberry Soil Fumigants

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