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Article

Shape Matters: Plant Architecture Affects Chemical Uniformity in Large-Size Medical Cannabis Plants

Institute of Soil Water and Environmental Sciences, Volcani Center, 68 HaMaccabim Road, P.O. Box 15159, Rishon LeZion 7505101, Israel
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Academic Editor: Mauro Commisso
Plants 2021, 10(9), 1834; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10091834
Received: 25 June 2021 / Revised: 29 August 2021 / Accepted: 1 September 2021 / Published: 3 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Biotechnology Applications in Secondary Metabolite Production)
Since plant organs sense their environment locally, gradients of micro-climates in the plant shoot may induce spatial variability in the physiological state of the plant tissue and hence secondary metabolism. Therefore, plant architecture, which affects micro-climate in the shoot, may considerably affect the uniformity of cannabinoids in the Cannabis sativa plant, which has significant pharmaceutical and economic importance. Variability of micro-climates in plant shoots intensifies with the increase in plant size, largely due to an increase in inter-shoot shading. In this study, we therefore focused on the interplay between shoot architecture and the cannabinoid profile in large cannabis plants, ~2.5 m in height, with the goal to harness architecture modulation for the standardization of cannabinoid concentrations in large plants. We hypothesized that (i) a 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 to the plant increase cannabinoid uniformity and yield biomass. To test these hypotheses, we investigated effects of eight plant architecture manipulation treatments involving branch removals, defoliation, and pruning on plant morpho-physiology, 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 and thereby through spatial uniformity, thus supporting the hypotheses. Taken together, the results reveal that shoot architectural modulation can be utilized to increase cannabinoid standardization in large cannabis plants, and that the cannabinoid profile in an inflorescence is an outcome of exogenous and endogenous factors. View Full-Text
Keywords: architecture; cannabis; cannabinoids; pruning; defoliation; standardization; THC; CBD; CBG architecture; cannabis; cannabinoids; pruning; defoliation; standardization; THC; CBD; CBG
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MDPI and ACS Style

Danziger, N.; Bernstein, N. Shape Matters: Plant Architecture Affects Chemical Uniformity in Large-Size Medical Cannabis Plants. Plants 2021, 10, 1834. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10091834

AMA Style

Danziger N, Bernstein N. Shape Matters: Plant Architecture Affects Chemical Uniformity in Large-Size Medical Cannabis Plants. Plants. 2021; 10(9):1834. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10091834

Chicago/Turabian Style

Danziger, Nadav, and Nirit Bernstein. 2021. "Shape Matters: Plant Architecture Affects Chemical Uniformity in Large-Size Medical Cannabis Plants" Plants 10, no. 9: 1834. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10091834

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