Five new hemp production research programs in the works

The Hemp Research Consortium, a public-private partnership to advance science for a sustainable hemp industry (Learn more here), announced its first grants to support hemp research. The Consortium and matching funders are providing a total of $1,119,198 to Cornell University, North Carolina State University, and the University of Kentucky to fund projects spanning genetic research, breeding techniques and growing conditions.

“People have been growing hemp for centuries, but we’ve only had the potential to apply cutting-edge science and technology to research and breeding in the last five years,” says Dr. Jeffrey Rosichan , Director of the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research. Collaboration on the cultures of the future. “We now have the potential to expand our knowledge of hemp and its potential by leaps and bounds, and this pioneering research offers great opportunities for breakthroughs.”

“These projects represent the first of many collaborative, cross-functional initiatives by the consortium aimed at addressing the agronomic challenges of hemp and accelerating the industry as a whole,” says Dr. David Suchoff, Director of the Hemp Research Consortium and Assistant Professor at NC State University.

Here is an overview of the funded research:

  • Dr. Jocelyn Rose, Cornell University (Matching Funders: Agilent Technologies, Cornell University): Hemp breeding research is still in its infancy due to the categorization of the crop as a controlled substance until recently, and it There is no genome-wide molecular marker system that has been accepted in the hemp community as a common and inexpensive platform. Cannabis can produce high levels of cannabinoids and terpenes, which help defend against pests and have potential economic, pharmacological and societal value. Mapping the hemp genes that control the production of these compounds is an essential first step in the development of genetic markers that can be used in breeding programs. Rose’s team uses an Agilent Technologies mass spectrometry platform to examine the diversity of cannabinoids and terpenes produced by hemp. They work in collaboration with Dr. Lawrence Smart of Cornell University, whose group performs genotypic analysis using the SureSelect system, a genetic sequencing technology from Agilent Technologies. This coupled analysis will ultimately aid selection for defense against herbivores and for compounds with pharmacological and welfare value.
  • Dr. Lawrence Smart, Cornell University (Matching Funders: Cornell University, The Scotts Company): Smart’s research focuses on breeding for traits that help adapt hemp to different growing regions and environments, including outdoor and controlled environments. . Top priorities include understanding the genes controlling flowering time, mold resistance, and minor cannabinoid production in hemp. The researchers aim to develop molecular markers for the genes controlling these traits to facilitate reproduction.
  • Dr Ricardo Hernandez, NC State University (Matching Funder: The Scotts Company): The electricity required for cannabis lighting in the United States is estimated at $896 million per year. Adopting energy-efficient LEDs could lead to energy savings of 34%, but there is a lack of scientifically validated information on the intensity and quality of light for optimal output and phytochemical content – CBD and related cannabinoids -. Without information on how hemp will react to LEDs, growers are hesitant to adopt energy-efficient lighting or specialized lighting products. Hernandez’s research focuses on the impact of UV, blue, green, red and far-red light and their interaction for nursery yield, flower yield, phytochemical concentration and profitability. This project will also reveal the response of cannabis to light intensity and provide insight into how supplemental light affects yield and earnings.
  • Dr. David Suchoff, NC State University (Matching Funders: NC State University, Oregon CBD): Increased field production of grain and hemp fiber results in significant amounts of wind-dispersed pollen. Pollination of floral hemp grown for cannabinoids can result in reduced yield and unmarketable quality due to the presence of seeds, which is unacceptable in smokable flowers. Therefore, farmers growing floral hemp need tools to minimize the threat of pollination. Suchoff’s research studies sterile varieties of hemp for their potential to retain sterility over multiple growing seasons, and collects data on these varieties’ flowering and harvesting, seed production, floral biomass, and cannabinoid concentrations. . The results of this research will provide a better understanding of the use and cultivation techniques of these varieties of hemp.
  • Dr. David Harmon, University of Kentucky (Matching Funders: International Hemp, University of Kentucky Research Foundation): Hemp grains and fiber have a favorable amino acid profile compared to other grains and excellent fatty acid compounds omega-3s, giving them potential as a feed additive for pets and livestock. However, under current FDA and Center for Veterinary Medicine guidelines, the inclusion of hemp in livestock feed is prohibited, primarily due to safety concerns related to possible transfer of THC and other chemicals. to animals or humans through the consumption of meat. Harmon identifies and organizes previous scientific studies using hemp as animal feed to find knowledge gaps that could identify future research opportunities and develop research goals that could lead to faster federal approval of the grain and hemp fiber as food additives.

Hemp research consortium partners include Agilent Technologies, Bast Fiber Tech, BioWorks, Cornell University, FFAR, IND HEMP, International Hemp, National Hemp Growers Cooperative, NC State University, Oregon CBD, The Scotts Company and the University of Kentucky.