Plant News: Recall of 99 Medical Plants Due To Contamination
19 Sep 2022

Plant News: Recall of 99 Medical Plants Due To Contamination

Anjali Singh

Table of Contents

What’s The News?

The Medical Marijuana Authority has recalled 99 Cannabis products in Oklahoma (OMMA) after discovering an unacceptable level of contaminants in their samples.

The news hit the public around May after the Oklahoma State Department of Health issued an emergency order of suspension for the MMJ testing lab license of Shiv Krupa—having business in scale laboratories.

During their inspection of the medical marijuana testing lab, the authority found several contamination issues in the samples—that were reported to be passing regulatory compliances:

  • 138 samples exceeding allowable thresholds for yeast and mold
  • 5 samples exceeding allowable thresholds for E.coli
  • 1 sample exceeding allowable thresholds for Salmonella

This is a pressing issue. Because actions like this can harm public health and safety.

Cannabis is a plant containing thousands of psychoactive compounds, having a spectrum of applications, ranging from medicinal to recreational uses. However, the states are highly regulating the propagation and yield of the plant.

In addition to the presence of psychedelic compounds in the plants, being prone to microbial contamination, such as mold or bacteria, is another reason for the requirement of federal regulation of the cannabis plant.

These contaminants also threaten the health of millions of cannabis consumers.

This article will answer how we can ensure the production of disease-free cannabis, including the safety measures, and tests you need to perform, and how tissue culture can be a significant savior in such a situation.

Contaminants Affecting Cannabis Production

The three most common contaminants affecting Cannabis production and yield are:

  • Bacteria: The bacteria species mainly cause leaf-spot, wilting, and leaf spots in the plant. Their examples include Pseudomonas syringae and Xanthomonas campestris pv. Cannabis.
  • Virus and Viroid: These contaminants affect the growth and total yield of Cannabis. They produce symptoms like stunted growth, green mosaic patterns, leaf curling and distortion, and shoot proliferation.

A few examples of viruses affecting Cannabis include Arabis mosaic virus (ArMV), Alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV), Hop mosaic virus (HpMV), Apple mosaic virus (ApMV), and Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV).

Some viroids affecting Cannabis are: Hop stunt viroid (HSVd) and Hop latent viroid. These contaminants produce symptoms at a higher concentration and at a later stage. Thus, they can even go unnoticed by your eyes.

In addition to viruses and viroids, phytoplasmas are another contaminant that heavily and brutally infects the Cannabis plants, affecting their growth and development, thus quality and yield.

  • Fungi: A range of fungal species infect Cannabis. They all produce different symptoms, which makes their infection recognition in plants much easier. Below are some examples of fungal pathogen and their symptoms:
  • Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. Cannabis: It causes yellowing of leaves and wilt.
  • Pythium: Its symptoms include stunted growth, root lesion, root rot, and severe root damage.
  • Sclerotinia sclerotiorum Causes water-soaked lesions on branches and stalks that later transform into cankers (small areas of dead tissue).

Pathogen Identification

The first step in pathogen elimination is the identification of the pathogen. The techniques used for the process include:

  • At first, the infected plants can be identified by symptoms on the plants, such as leaf spots, root-rot, wilting, or others, based on the type of pathogen infecting the plant.
  • However, some microbes do not produce any or negligible symptoms or are observed at a later stage of plant growth. In such a case, molecular studies are required to be performed to identify the pathogen.
  • In pathogen identification, the first step is to identify them at their morphological level. You need to observe their shape, size, or other surface characteristics.
  • However, a particular solution for the infections can only be provided after the correct identification of the pathogen species. The molecular methods used for species identification include polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of the ribosomal DNA region that contains the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and intergeneric spacer regions (IGS).
  • PCR methods utilize the 16S region of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) to identify the bacterial pathogen.
  • Molecular analysis involving RT-PCR of RNA templates and next-generation sequencing (NGS) is used to identify viruses and viroids.

How Can Tissue Culture Help Prevent Contamination?

As experts say, tissue culture is the future of the Cannabis industry. The range of benefits offered by the tissue culture technique makes it a favorite choice of Cannabis professionals to grow Cannabis on a commercial scale. It includes:

  • Producing disease-free plants
  • Producing plants all-year-round
  • Maintaining the genetics of the plant
  • Producing true-to-type plants
  • Reducing the variation in the plant production
  • Creating thousands of plants in a small space
  • Growing plants with chosen and desired characteristics, such as those producing high-yield
  • Increasing the quality and yield of Cannabis

Considering these benefits, tissue culture is proven to be an efficient and effective tool in identifying and eliminating pathogens.

The technique is performed in complete aseptic conditions that ensure the elimination of contaminants from the plant. Tissue culture allows easy multiplication of the disease-free plants into thousands of plants when chosen disease-free explant from a disease-free mother plant.

For example, the meristem is used for virus elimination in plants that are prone to viral diseases.

Here’re a few steps to follow while doing growing Cannabis in tissue culture and ensuring 100% elimination of contaminants from your produce.

  • Maintain complete aseptic condition in the cannabis-growing facilities.
  • Do not use infected mother plants as your initial explant for the multiplication of Cannabis. Ensure that the plant material entering the facility is inspected and quarantined for disease symptoms.
  • Test the mother plant using molecular techniques like PCR for the presence of any contaminants.
  • Use an effective surface sterilization technique to eliminate all the dead tissue and contaminants present on the surface of the explant.
  • Clean and sanitize tools, equipment, dehumidifiers, air filters, and growing and trimming rooms.
  • Maintain proper temperature, humidity, and air circulation, and clean and sterilized drying areas to prevent contaminants like Botrytis.
  • Use air purification systems such as HEPA filters and UV to reduce airborne contaminants and pathogens.
  • Always perform your tissue culture procedures under a Laminar flow hood to prevent any kind of contamination.
  • Use high-grade chemicals to prepare the tissue culture media for your plants.
  • Do not over-crowd the culturing space and maintain optimum distance between plants.
  • Use PPMTM (Plant Preservative Mixture) in your media to give your cultures an all-round protection from all types of contaminants.

These steps help you to eliminate contaminants from spoiling your cultures and enable you to increase Cannabis quality and yield.

Still not sure, how can you do it? Or are you looking for proper education in the tissue culture of Cannabis?

Then, join us at the 3-day Cannabis Tissue Culture seminar we are organizing in partnership with the Onsite-Microprop LLC - a Cannabis centered organization.

Join Our Upcoming Cannabis Tissue Culture Seminar This October 15th!

The Cannabis Tissue Culture Seminar educates you and provides you with all the resources you need to get started in your journey to produce disease-free Cannabis, meeting all regulatory complaints.

You can join the basic courses, where you will learn more about basic Cannabis tissue culture like media preparation, meristem dissection, and cannabis micropropagation, or even join the expert courses, where we will dive further into pathogen remediation by media amendments, gender screening, long-term storage solutions, procedures, protocols, and solutions to prevent contamination from your lab and increase Cannabis yield!

So whether you are a beginner or an expert, the seminar is FOR YOU!

Additionally, you will get to network with tissue culturists from around the world and will receive a certificate to show you are now the expert!

Thousands of cannabis growers have already joined and booked their tickets to level up their Cannabis propagation business.

Don’t stay behind, book your tickets now!

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.