Presentation Title

Increasing Secondary Metabolite Production in Cannabis indica via Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented the Friday of the conference

Abstract

Cannabis is becoming well known for its medicinal uses as a result of the plants’ unique, psychoactive effects on the body. Secondary metabolites Trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound of the plant, and cannabidiol (CBD), an anti-inflammatory compound, are the most prevalent of the many cannabinoid compounds. THC, CBD and other cannabinoids have become an area of interest for researchers because of their interactions with the endocannabinoid system -- and their potential use in medicine as therapeutic agents. Cannabis for medicinal use is generally consumed via essential oils extracted from the plant; therefore, increased yields of secondary metabolites such as THC, CBD and terpenes is a desired characteristic. It has been shown that secondary metabolism can be stimulated through the symbiotic relationships of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria and plants, resulting in higher yields of secondary metabolites. More specifically, the nitrogen-fixing Azospirillum brasilense has been correlated with increased essential oil yields and was thus used in this experiment. 24 of 48 Cannabis indica seedlings of the Sweet Deep Grapefruit variety were inoculated with A. brasilense and repotted. The plants will be grown to maturity and harvested, and the terpene and cannabinoid profiles of each plant will then be determined and analyzed. Three soil samples will be taken from each plant: prior to inoculation with A. brasilense, when the plants are seedlings; during repotting, about half way through the growth period; and at the end of the growth period, before harvest. All soil samples will be analyzed via Next-Generation DNA sequencing to determine the presence of A. brasilense throughout the C. indica growth period and to assess the variability in microbial communities between plants. Individual plants will be investigated for evidence of correlation between certain microbial communities and increased secondary metabolite production. It is expected that A. brasilense will proliferate in the comparable growth conditions of wild hemp, from which the rhizobacteria was isolated, and the C. indica plants and will be present throughout the growth cycle. We predict that when inoculated with A. brasilense, C. indica will have increased production of THC, CBD, and terpenes when compared to control plants.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Jonathan Van Hamme

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Increasing Secondary Metabolite Production in Cannabis indica via Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria

Cannabis is becoming well known for its medicinal uses as a result of the plants’ unique, psychoactive effects on the body. Secondary metabolites Trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound of the plant, and cannabidiol (CBD), an anti-inflammatory compound, are the most prevalent of the many cannabinoid compounds. THC, CBD and other cannabinoids have become an area of interest for researchers because of their interactions with the endocannabinoid system -- and their potential use in medicine as therapeutic agents. Cannabis for medicinal use is generally consumed via essential oils extracted from the plant; therefore, increased yields of secondary metabolites such as THC, CBD and terpenes is a desired characteristic. It has been shown that secondary metabolism can be stimulated through the symbiotic relationships of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria and plants, resulting in higher yields of secondary metabolites. More specifically, the nitrogen-fixing Azospirillum brasilense has been correlated with increased essential oil yields and was thus used in this experiment. 24 of 48 Cannabis indica seedlings of the Sweet Deep Grapefruit variety were inoculated with A. brasilense and repotted. The plants will be grown to maturity and harvested, and the terpene and cannabinoid profiles of each plant will then be determined and analyzed. Three soil samples will be taken from each plant: prior to inoculation with A. brasilense, when the plants are seedlings; during repotting, about half way through the growth period; and at the end of the growth period, before harvest. All soil samples will be analyzed via Next-Generation DNA sequencing to determine the presence of A. brasilense throughout the C. indica growth period and to assess the variability in microbial communities between plants. Individual plants will be investigated for evidence of correlation between certain microbial communities and increased secondary metabolite production. It is expected that A. brasilense will proliferate in the comparable growth conditions of wild hemp, from which the rhizobacteria was isolated, and the C. indica plants and will be present throughout the growth cycle. We predict that when inoculated with A. brasilense, C. indica will have increased production of THC, CBD, and terpenes when compared to control plants.