The Advantages of Tissue Culture Techniques in Cannabis Horticulture

The Advantages of Tissue Culture Techniques in Cannabis Horticulture

The cannabis industry has experienced significant growth and expansion in recent years. However, traditional grow operations have posed challenges for cultivators due to the large amount of space, time, and manpower required. To address these limitations, the cannabis industry has begun adopting plant tissue culture propagation techniques, which have long been used in other areas of commercial agriculture.

Dr. Veronica Codesido, co-founder and manager of breeding and cultivation at MIFCO Biosciences, explained that tissue culture techniques offer several advantages over traditional propagation methods. These techniques allow for higher cannabinoid yields at a lower production cost, production of virus-free plants, independence from environmental conditions, and shorter harvesting durations. Additionally, tissue culture is the best method for maintaining and safeguarding plant stock.

Traditional cannabis operations often involve cultivating plants from cuttings taken from a mother plant. These cuttings are then replanted in soil to grow into new plants that are clones of the mother plant. However, maintaining healthy mother plants free of disease can be challenging, and growing the clones to maturity requires significant time and space.

In contrast, tissue culture cultivation techniques start with tiny samples of viable plant tissue, sometimes just a part of a cell. These samples can be used to produce hundreds of genetically identical clones of the mother plant. The small tissue samples are established in tubes containing a specialized culturing medium and allowed to develop into new young plants before being transferred to larger pots.

Compared to traditional cloning methods, tissue culture techniques require less space to propagate. This makes it easier for cultivators to adjust environmental factors such as humidity, temperature, and light conditions to ensure healthy growth. Furthermore, the growth media contained in the tubes can be tailored to provide optimal nutritional content for healthy growth.

There are various tissue culture techniques that can be employed for cannabis cultivation. The meristem culture technique is particularly effective as it produces virus-free clones using a sample of the apical meristem. These clones can be multiplied at a commercial scale, resulting in even more virus-free plants.

Protoplast culture methods involve culturing stripped plant cells without cell walls, allowing them to regrow new walls and develop into young plants. This method offers opportunities for gene editing technologies such as CRISPR cas9 gene editing and other experiments with genetically transformed plants.

MIFCO Biosciences has already implemented cutting-edge micropropagation tissue culture technology in its cultivation operation, resulting in improved plant health and production efficiency. Compared to traditional manual cloning, tissue culture cloning requires significantly less space and allows for the processing of a higher number of clones per person per day.

The use of tissue culture techniques can enhance plant health and vigor, resulting in a 10-20% increase in cannabinoid yield. When considering production costs, processing times, and other operating factors, MIFCO Biosciences estimates that tissue culture cloning can potentially generate revenues ten times greater than traditional manual cloning operations.

While tissue culture cultivation has been used in other areas of agriculture for decades, there is still room for further optimization in the context of commercial cannabis grow operations. Biotechnology companies are exploring the combination of tissue culture micropropagation technology with bioreactors. These bioreactors provide a controlled ecosystem for cannabis plants to develop and grow without the need for support substances like agar. Additionally, automation and robotic subculturing technologies are being experimented with to reduce costs and improve throughput in large-scale operations.

Although these advancements may currently be expensive for smaller operations, they hold promise for the future of cannabis cultivation. By leveraging tissue culture techniques and exploring innovative technologies, cultivators can optimize their grow operations, maximize yield per square foot, and maintain high-quality standards demanded by cannabis connoisseurs.

Dr. Paul Miller, MD

Dr. Miller is committed to finding new and innovative ways to help his patients manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. He has a particular interest in the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis and is passionate about educating both his colleagues and patients on its safe and effective use. He is also committed to continuing his education and staying up-to-date on the latest advances in neurology and cannabis research.

Leave a Comment