Physiology of Medicinal Cannabis

Project: PhD

Project Details


Medicinal cannabis is used to treat multiple medical conditions in humans. Currently medicinal cannabis is a multimillion-euro industry, requiring increasing demands for indoor cultivation where quantity and quality can be predicted and improved by optimizing environmental conditions such as visible and ultraviolet light (UV). Various types of UV exist (UV-A/B/C), each of which can be sensed by specific photoreceptors, and the downstream response can be modulated. UV light affects plant photomorphogenesis and physiology depending on dose, exposure duration, visible light intensity, and cultivar. UV application can increase the production of flavonoids and terpenoids, thus be a potential strategy for growing healthier crops with higher medicinal and nutritional value. However, research on the effects of UV on cannabis is scarce, especially on the effects of UV-A/B, and their combination. Moreover, regulation and molecular mechanisms at gene expression level are poorly understood. Therefore, to explore the effect of UV on cannabis we will characterize morphological and physiological responses to UV-A and UV-B doses and to different UV-A over UV-B ratios; and determine the role of UV at different PAR levels and duration of application on biomass. Moreover, to determine the effect of UV light on the biosynthesis of specialized metabolites we will analyse the changes in the content via a metabolomic approach, as well as the gene expression of biosynthetic enzymes. We hypothesized that increasing UV dosage will reduce leaf area, biomass, net photosynthesis, while increasing leaf thickness and production of specialized metabolites. Additionally, high PAR levels and short-term UV application promotes expression of biosynthetic enzymes enhancing the accumulation of specialized metabolites. This knowledge will help to better understand the impact of UV light on cannabis specialized metabolism, with views to identify a UV application for the enhancement of health-promoting compounds.
Effective start/end date1/09/22 → …


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