Fungal Monitoring: Testing for Mold on Cannabis Plants
This article looks at the benefits of fungal monitoring: testing for mold on cannabis plants. Specifically, the article discusses how to find and test samples for mold and test it properly. Once testing and analyzing are done, proper actions are carried out when necessary.
Mold and Cannabis
Cannabis is an extremely mold-susceptible crop, and growers battle it constantly. But, managing mold doesn’t mean eliminating mold entirely – that’s impossible. Instead, cultivation professionals must work to minimize the amount of mold so plants can thrive, and the finished products are safe for consumption.
A healthy plant is grown, cured and packaged for sale. In a growing number of states, state-mandated testing is required before the product can be sold to consumers.
The cannabis flower captured pollen floating in the air or brought by a pollinating insect. Once a mold spore has landed in a flower, the spore will grow. The flower will continue to grow and encapsulate the mold. Once the mold is growing in the middle of the flower, there is no way to get rid of it without damaging the flower.
The types of spores found in or around a plant makes all the difference. For example, is a mold that can produce mycotoxins, which are toxic to humans. Mold spores like powdery mildew can survive from one harvest to the next. They suspend in the air for hours and be viable for years.
How Mold Travels
Different types of spores – the reproductive parts of mold – get released from different types of mold. Similar to plants and animals, mold reproduces when resources are deemed sufficient. The opposite is also true that if the mold is under enough stress.
In the end, mold spores are released naturally into the air for many reasons. This makes mold contamination unavoidable in a cultivation facility.
The Battle Against Mold
The fight against mold must be smart, and it must be thorough to avoid testing failures and profit losses. The process is called biosecurity. Everything from standard operating procedures and environmental controls, to fresh air movement and surface cleanliness are considered.
However, fungal monitoring is the most effective component. During the growing process, monitoring is done using scouting reports. A human actually inspects all or part of the crop. Yet, this process is sometimes unreliable.
Petri dishes or plates are another tool for finding mold on cannabis plants. Air moves past the plate and mold spores land on the dish. However, this process doesn’t give a complete picture.
Growers can also use spore traps to monitor for mold. This method is fast and can be sent to a 3rd party for unbiased review.
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Original article written by Bernie Lorenz, PhD