MustGrow Biologics Corp. has announced that a biopesticide R&D program is underway with the National Research Council Canada.
The NRC and MustGrow are conducting a series of efficacy assessments of MustGrow’s patented natural biopesticide as a natural pre-plant, pre-pot soil treatment for soil-borne pests and diseases that affect cannabis production. "We intend to seek Health Canada approval of our natural biopesticide for eventual use by Canada’s licensed cannabis producers. The R&D program is currently targeting a number of soil-borne pests and diseases that have been particularly problematic for many of Canada’s licensed cannabis producers, including but not limited to:
- Botrytis (gray mold, bud rot), a serious and common disease often brought into facilities via contaminated soil.
- Fusarium and Rhizoctonia (root rot), known to destroy entire cannabis rooms and can lay dormant in both soil and waterlines for years before becoming active and detrimental.
Health Canada: Mandatory Cannabis Testing for Pesticides
Requirements published by Health Canada necessitate mandatory testing for pesticides in cannabis (effective January 2, 2019), as outlined below. According to them, MustGrow is well-positioned to provide a compliant cannabis label through tailoring of its natural biopesticide, which is already approved for use in fruits and vegetables.
“To meet the testing requirements, licence holders under the Cannabis Regulations must demonstrate that none of the unauthorized pesticide active ingredients, as listed in the Mandatory cannabis testing for pesticide active ingredients - List and limits published by Health Canada, are used to treat their products or have contaminated their products.”
Using the following Health Canada-defined Purposes as a framework, MustGrow is advancing a number of natural biopesticide and biofertilizer labels.
“The requirements of the Pest Control Products Act and the Cannabis Act related to the use of pest control products (PCPs) are met
Individuals have access to quality-controlled cannabis products that have not been treated or contaminated with unauthorized PCPs
Individuals have accessible and accurate information to make informed decisions”
Soil-Borne Pests and Diseases Contaminate Cannabis Cultivation Facilities
Through MustGrow’s eventual suite of biopesticides and biofertilizers, Canadian cannabis licence-holders may have access to products that aid in production of compliant, pest-free cannabis. "MustGrow’s pre-plant/pot soil treatment has already demonstrated control of many soil-borne diseases and pests that affect cannabis production, including the following: Pythium root rot, Rhizoctonia fungus, Fusarium, nematodes, Verticillium wilt, Phytophthora root rot and Sclerotinia."
Products derived from mustard seeds
MustGrow’s patented products are derived from mustard seed, utilizing the plant’s natural defense mechanism as a pre-plant soil biopesticide. Organic compounds found within mustard (Brassica) plants, combined with water, form allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), which is the active ingredient in MustGrow’s signature products. The Company feels that the natural AITC chemical has untapped potential to benefit agricultural production – both as a biopesticide/fungicide and biofertilizer – and has yet to be fully explored and commercialized. MustGrow has concentrated the active ingredient in both granular and liquid form to maximize safety and efficacy.
In addition to its biopesticides, MustGrow is compiling a science-based suite of biological products, assessing potential product labels from third parties. "These products will be natural and/or organic biopesticides and biofertilizers, and MustGrow is working toward in-licensing private labels and/or distributing current third-party product brands to Canadian cannabis licensed producers (LPs) exclusively through MustGrow," the company remarks.
Agriculture Chemistries vs. Biologicals
"MustGrow’s mustard-derived products have consistently demonstrated efficacious benefits similar to synthetic “chemical” products without the harmful safety profile often associated with these chemical products," the team further explains. “Biological” products are typically less efficacious than chemical products and typically only have suppression labels, which is less than 75% control, requiring frequent reentry and reapplication intervals. However, MustGrow’s product testing in soil used for fruits and vegetables has indicated greater than 95% control (more than just suppression) of soil-borne pests and diseases – in some cases 100% control of root-knot nematodes (parasitic worms) compared to the dangerous synthetic chemical methyl bromide."
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