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Research & Development Horticulture, Classification

The Shape of Things to Come?

Did you know that plant organs sense their environment locally?

The resulting gradient of micro-climates in the plant shoot has the potential to induce spatial variability in the physiological state of the plant tissue – in turn, affecting the uniformity of cannabinoids in the plant. This variability intensifies with an increase in plant size, largely due to an increase in inter-shoot shading. 

In this study, researchers focused on the interplay between shoot architecture and cannabinoid profile in large cannabis plants (~2.5 m in height). They set out to test two theories: i) the gradient of light intensity along the plants is accompanied by changes to the cannabinoid profile, and ii) manipulations of plant architecture that increase light penetration increase cannabinoid uniformity and yield biomass.

The team investigated effects of eight plant architecture manipulation treatments (for example, branch removals and defoliation) on inflorescence yield, cannabinoid profile, and uniformity. The results revealed that low cannabinoid concentrations in inflorescences at the bottom of the plants correlate with low light penetration, and that increasing light penetration by defoliation or removal of bottom branches and leaves increases cannabinoid concentrations locally.

In short, i) shoot architectural modulation can increase cannabinoid uniformity in large cannabis plants, and ii) the cannabinoid profile of an inflorescence is an outcome of both exogenous and endogenous factors.

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About the Author
Phoebe Harkin

Deputy Editor

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