Heard Of “Dudding” Disease?
27 Sep 2022

Heard Of “Dudding” Disease?

Anjali Singh, MS

As a content and community manager, I leverage my expertise in plant biotechnology, passion for tissue culture, and writing skills to create compelling articles, simplifying intricate scientific concepts, and address your inquiries. As a dedicated science communicator, I strive to spark curiosity and foster a love for science in my audience.

Anjali Singh, MS
Table of Contents


Do you know “Dudding disease,” is estimated to cause the cannabis industry more than $44 million in losses every year?—according to a feature published by Marijuana Venture.

The disease is caused by the Hop latent viroid, which is recognized through symptoms like reduced trichome, brittle stem, stunted growth, malformation of leaves, and abnormal flowers.

But, you may ask we have heard about viruses, so are viroid and viruses the same?

The answer is, No.

Viroids are infectious agents that consist of naked single-stranded RNA. They do not have a protein coating, unlike viruses. They are also smaller in size compared to viruses. Further, viruses can infect a host of organisms, ranging from bacteria and plants to animals. However, viroids can only infect plant cells.

Some examples of viruses are tobacco mosaic virus, Tomato spotted wilt virus, and Brome mosaic virus and some examples of viroids are Potato spindle tuber viroid, Peach latent mosaic viroid, and Hop Latent Viroid.

In this article we will review what are hot latent viroids, how they have been identified in crops by Dark Heart Industry, the symptoms they cause, and how can you protect your plants from the disease.

What is Hop Latent Viroid?

Hop latent viroid (HpLVD) is a pathogen causing Dudding diseases in plants. It’s an infectious circular, single-stranded RNA. It belongs to the genus Cocadviroid and appears usually on Hop. As the viroids do not produce any symptoms, they can go unnoticed for years and transfer to your new plants when you grow using the diseased plants.

The most common symptoms shown by the infectious agents are:

  • Stunted growth
  • Reduced Vigor
  • Stunted and reduced trichomes and oil production
  • Reduced flower mass
  • Brittle stems
  • Reduction in potency

Though, the virus was identified by Schmidt in 1966. However, in 2019, it was detected as the cause of Dudding in California gardens. In 2017, Dr. Rick Crum first coined the phrase “Putative Cannabis Infectious Agent” (PCIA) to describe the symptoms.

How Dark Heart Industry Identified the Hop Latent Viroid?

From August 20 to July 2021, The Dark Heart Industry performed tests for more than 100 cannabis growers across California. And, according to the obtained results, almost 90% of the cultivation sites tested positive for HpLVd in more than 33% of the tests.

The data projects that Hop Latent Viroid affects more than 30% of all cannabis plants. It represents more than $4 billion in losses for U.S. growers who expect to produce more than 7 million pounds of legal cannabis each year.

Figure: The images show the progression of the Hop Latent Viroid. (Photo: Dark Heart Industries). Left—Diseased plant; Right—Healthy plant.

How the test was performed?

The Dark Heart Industry began detecting the cause of Dudding symptoms in Cannabis plants in 2017, with the help of Dr. Warren. They collected both the infected and healthy plants and tested for probable disease causes using next-generation RNA sequencing. After analyzing the results, it was confirmed that HpLVd was the most likely candidate pathogen.

Then, they infected the healthy plants with an infectious clone of HpLVd. It was to confirm that the developed symptoms were consistent with PCIA.

Their team monitored the infected and healthy (control) plants for three months to track symptom development. After this period of time, it was clearly apparent that the symptoms of the infected plants were consistent with PCIA, such as malformed leaves, yellowing of leaves, and stunted growth. This confirmed that the Dudding symptoms in Cannabis plants were due to Hop Latent Viroid (HpLVD).

How Can You Prevent Hop Latent Viroid From Affecting Your Plants?

There are some testing available to pre-test the material that you are using for propagation for the presence of the virus. You need complete sanitary conditions for plants and proper handling.

But, screening your first material is the first step to obtaining healthy plants. Then, you can use tissue culture to propagate the plants, ensuring they don’t get infected with any other diseases or similar diseases. Tissue culture is an advanced method to grow disease-free plants. It involves the use of certain chemicals that kill the virus and also helps you boost your production rate.


Tissue culture has a major role to play in producing healthy plants that are free from HpLVD. However, the process is not that easy when you don’t have experience in it. Moreover, it will take months for you to create or develop your own cure—which will require mixing different types and concentrations of chemicals and testing them on plants. Imagine how much time and money you’ll be required to invest in it!

That’s why we have brought you our comprehensive “Cannabis Tissue Culture Masterclass”. It will be a 3-days class starting from December 16-18, 2022. The class will be conducted by one of the legends in the Cannabis Tissue Culture Industry, Bill Graham.

In this class, you won’t only learn how to prevent HpLVD infection and produce healthy plants, but a range of other topics, including synthetic seed production, sterilization techniques, Meristem dissection, and many more.

Here’s our complete curriculum.

This a one of the most popular MasterClass, for which booking has already been started. And, for one-on-experience with our tissue culture expert, only a limited number of seats are available.

So, if you are interested in giving a boost to your Cannabis business, then book your seats TODAY!

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