Advances being made in commercial agriculture are finding their way into commercial cannabis production. This includes technology to combat pot plant mold, yeasts and other issues normally treated with harsh and poisonous herbicides.
The issue of mold and cannabis seem to be a story that keeps recurring, from licensed producers in Canada using banned herbicides to flower recalls happening in several legal U..S states as a result of failed test results for banned products like Eagle 20.
I’ve written before about powdery mildew, tackling the subject from a topical point of view looking at effective spray treatments. After attending a National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) event in Oakland several months ago, I was surprised to see the many options available using new technologies to combat pot plant mold during commercial cannabis production.
Springing from the food and aerospace industry, there has been a wave of new technologies permeating the cannabis space dealing with combating mildew and other yeasts and molds. Quite a few devices are already out there, and I’m sure there will be more to follow.
There have always been many options available for filtering air from amazing HEPA filters to other types of filtration systems. Where ever possible, it is best to filter all the air circulating into your flower chambers.
This will start you off with clean air, preventing spores from entering your rooms.
The other thing to bear in mind when designing new rooms is to avoid hard edges. Keep corners rounded and easy to clean. You want to be able to spray your rooms down and ensure that no spores could get trapped in corners or behind edges.
Some of the new technologies that are available use air purification systems developed by NASA. These machines scrub your flower rooms cleaning the air that is circulating around your plants.
This technology uses photocatalytic oxidation to destroy the microbes and spores in the air by oxidizing the microbes. This technology uses UV light to activate a filter coated in titanium oxide which creates hydroxyl radicals and super-oxide ions, which are highly reactive ions and thus affects the mold negatively, eventually freeing your room of spores.
Ozone is another treatment that I’ve seen used either in AC head units to clean the air coming out or in the room directly, which can be dangerous.
Some of these machines even recreate the atmosphere of clean mountain air, which gives the air in your room the feeling as though you are in a crisp high altitude. However, ozone can damage your lungs, so it’s best to run the treatment when no one is working.
Other machines make use of UVA and UVB light spectrums which have been very effective at killing mold in hospital settings. However, these machines have had issues with killing spores. Most of these machines need to be held about one to two inches from the plants surface and need to be constantly used in order to keep up with the spread of spores.
One new product called the pathogen death wand (PDW) is an LED light strip that makes use of different spectrums producing invisible light.
There is no UVA or UVB in the PDW’s patented lights, and it is safe for humans, plants and animals. These lights are used to prevent things like E. coli, bacteria and molds from forming on produce, fruits, meat and seafoods in the food-service industry.
SpectrumGro, the distributor bringing the PDW to market, has recently concluded studies in Colorado that showed the efficacy of their technology in combatting PM, pot plant mold, fungus and yeasts.
With the light strips placed over the canopy in a nine-week cycle without spaying any herbicides, the plants tested clean, weekly, for PM, mold, fungus and molds from start to finish. The strips were positioned about 16 to 18 inches from the canopy and were cycled 12 on/12 off.
The PDW light had no negative effect on the growth of the plants and kept the plants’ mold- and yeast-free with no spraying or herbicide treatment.
As most growers have witnessed the biggest issue with PM is that it is systemic and carried in the very tissue of the plant. The mildew spores that are present need to be eliminated prior to the plants’ flower stage.
The PDW does just that by breaking the pot plant mold down on the cellular level. The lights ensure that your crops will be completely free of mold and yeasts.
I will continue to report on the latest technology when it comes to IPM (integrated pest management) as I feel that is important to get the most up-to-date information possible out there.