Whether orchids, berries or bananas, plant tissue culture has been widely used in agriculture for nearly 40 years to produce uniform, disease-free strains. But when it comes to cannabis, the technology has only emerged within the last few years, as scientists working with weeds cracked the code for what plants want to replicate successfully on a small scale. By participating in the fight against hops cryptic viroid disease, one of the most diverse plants on the planet, cannabis tissue culture is a new avenue for preserving the genetics of one of the most diverse plants on the planet. And while growers have been able to get tissue culture grown cuts for about eight years, tissue culture clones have been available to the public for the first time. node lab At the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball in December 2022.
“Cannabis is a very tissue-culture-tolerant plant. We have several plants like that,” says Node Labs CEO Lauren Avenuis. “So, like avocados and grapevines, they don’t like micropropagation. It likes to grow from, bloom, and die.”
Scientists working at The Node, a small lab in a modest red barn in rural Petaluma, California, studied tissue culture before discovering the methodology that makes cannabis stem cell technology work. Now that they have, their facility has an impressive bank of cannabis genetics. A few snickers happen when I say it aloud, but when you’re inside a room full of shelves dedicated to tissue culture clones, each in its own container, you’re in a pet store aquarium. All plants grow in a transparent jelly-like substance derived from seaweed called agar, which allows the entire root structure to be seen. They are small terrariums that hold stories of pot’s past, present, and future.
Chief Science Officer Chris Leavitt walked us through the steps in Node.js by explaining that plants, unlike humans, are not conscious of their entire body.
“[Plants] It’s a colony of cells that stick to each other,” says Leavitt. “So if the stem has received all the sap that you normally get with agar, you don’t even know it’s not yet attached to the plant. You can grow it, you can even cut off just the leaves or stems and grow them… Putting them in that environment really allows you to break the rules of typical plant growth.”
My tour of Node begins in a prefabricated clean room. There, the medium, agar, is mixed in an autoclave, a device designed for sterilization. This room also sterilizes other tools used in the tissue culture process, such as scissors and jars. A second set of surgical boots is put on before heading to the growth chamber and transfer room, where the hot agar is dispensed into the same clear plastic containers found in the bulk food section of your local grocery store. See The air quality in this room has reached ISO 8. This is the standard of 1,000 of his dust particles per cubic yard, and is also used in the manufacture of electronic and medical equipment. All sterilization and air cleanliness ensure no contamination enters the laboratory.
“One of the things we do here is clean the plants,” says Luis Mautner, Node’s breeding director. “Plant washing is the process of taking the plant out of the outside world and running the process we developed here. Fusarium It’s one of the biggest impacts on the cannabis industry. We are also indexing HLVd, a hops latent viroid. ”
Mautner began working with cannabis after a career in tissue culture that included work with berry company Driscoll’s and tropical houseplants such as peace lilies. He says the clear medium is used because it’s diagnostic and indicates when things shouldn’t grow on the plant.
Then enter another room where cannabis plants in different stages of growth are kept on shelves. There are also shelves containing other plants that Nord is testing for research, like wine grapes and cute little tempranillos.
To start working with Node, a client provides 10 clone stems from a cannabis plant, forming what Mautner calls a bouquet. Cannabis has a strong affinity for endogenous contaminants within its stem, so clones are degraded to the cellular level, Leavitt explains. Nord scientists truncate clones into parts, meristems, a type of plant tissue that houses stem cells, or cells from which all other types of cells arise.
“What you basically do is [the cannabis clones] It’s essentially down to plant stem cells,” says Avenius. “You’re eliminating all the epigenetic, all the genetic toggles associated with stress and the environment. You’re getting [the plant] Down to its pure expression, its genetics, and essentially also removes all vascular tissue. In other words, we are only getting brand new pure examples and samples of cannabis plants that can be grown in tissue culture without any other influences to see their pure gene expression. ”
When cut down to meristematic tissue, clones are only 0.5 to 1 mm in size. Once the plants are big enough to look like cannabis plants instead of small clumps, test for HLVd. HLVd is a clonal pathogen of cannabis that causes stunting and reduces the plant’s ability to produce trichomes. Leavitt explained that HLVd is similar to skin cancer in that it can affect one part of the plant but not another. This is another reason why tissue culture is such a valuable tool in fighting viruses because it reduces plants to their most basic elements.
After the plants go through an extensive screening process, they grow to about 3 to 4 inches and are used to fill banks, a system in which nodes hold cannabis genetics within a gene library.
“These two refrigerators play a big role in the large genetics cannabis market.” shervinsky When Freemasonry As well as companies like Canarad, Connectedand small growers like Sonoma Hills Farmthe bank pink jesus.
The seed bank aspect of the company is tied to the beginnings of Node Labs. Node was founded in 2018 after CEO Felipe Recalde. compound genetics The co-founder of Nord lost his genetic library of cannabis strains and his home in the Tubbs Fire, the most devastating wildfire in California’s history that hit Santa Rosa in 2017. Culture as the future of genetic preservation. Since his 2010, he has been experimenting with defective kits for tissue culture. Today, genetics are stored in laboratories and off-site locations to serve as an additional backup against disasters such as fires.
Part of the work Node does is a private client service that stores genetics, but some companies like Connected Cannabis Co. also have certified genetics available for licensing. Due to the consistency of tissue culture clones received from Node Labs, brands with operations in many states, including one of his lab partners, Khalifa Kush With the help of rapper Wiz Khalifa, we can provide standardized and consistent flowers across the country. Node’s key partnership with Compound Genetics allows the lab to grow and blossom clones for clients to test. The brains of Compound Genetics grow plants from seeds and conduct phenohunts at our San Francisco facility to provide clients with a selection of the best clones. The process in Node gives genetics a validation that doesn’t happen if someone gets a clone cut from a friend.
The future of the tissue culture industry does not lie in customizing millions of plants, but instead in preserving genetics and delivering mother plants that growers can multiply by traditional breeding. says Leavitt.
“The main officials of [tissue culture] This is not micropropagation. It’s not about him getting 50,000 plants at once,” Levitt explains of the differences between tissue culture techniques in cannabis and traditional farming. “It’s a germplasm reservoir. It’s a fancy term for genetics, the agricultural problem of holding a gene bank.”
Another sign of future cannabis propagation taking place at Node Labs is the process of in vitro phenohunt, or seed growth, in agar jelly in test tubes. Nodes grow those plants in tissue culture from the small seedlings that the seeds produce. If you like the results, tissue culture is already there, saving growers time.
“While this saves a lot of time, it also means that when you take that seed and take that clone out and put it out, you already get some of the benefits of tissue culture when you first grow it.” says Avenuis. Say. “Because they are immature plants, they have not been exposed to viruses or pathogens. And they have some of the unique morphologies that you get from tissue culture plants. It tends to have strength, which means we are already seeing better performing plants from the start.”
Leavitt points to Gastro Pop #5 as an in-lab example. This is a cross of Apples & Bananas and Grape Gas developed in-house via in vitro phenohunt.
“Gastro Pop #5 there. The plants in this lab have never seen microbial fungi or bacteria in their entire lives,” says Leavitt.
He explains that if someone finds a good breed that they like, the six-month process to obtain a tissue culture clone can be daunting.
“That process gave me in vitro the excitement of smoking a joint and the excitement of saying, ‘This is it,’ and the excitement of, ‘Cool, it’s in the lab,’ all at the same time,” he says.
At the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball in December 2022, Compound was able to offer its latest product, the ‘Naked Pulse’ tissue culture clone. These were served without the agar jelly. Clones of naked beans can be planted on a medium of choice and become mother plants for growing with consistent genetics.
“We love this as a next-generation clone,” says Avenuis.
The whole process of tissue culture cloning is an exciting new frontier for cannabis, and I got to experience it first hand when Recalde gifted me a tissue culture clone at a social gathering. I took the tube. It was filled with clones held in suspense in what I learned to be agar, and I went home and grew it into a plant. I didn’t know you had the power to move.
Read more about Node Labs in the Science & Technology issue of High Times Magazine.