Dark Heart Industries has completed 200,000 tissue tests for Hop Latent Viroid (HpLVd) and uncovered startling new statistics about the impact of the disease on America’s legal cannabis industry.
Dark Heart performed tests for more than 100 cannabis growers across California from August 2018 until July 2021. Results show that more than 33% of the tests from almost 90% of the cultivation sites were positive for HpLVd and supports projections by cannabis industry analysts that Hop Latent Viroid affects more than 30% of all cannabis plants. This translates into more than $4 billion in annual losses for US growers who are forecast to produce more than seven million pounds of legal cannabis in 2021*.
“Hop Latent Viroid is perhaps the greatest threat to the legal cannabis industry in the United States,” said Dr. Bryce Falk, Professor Emeritus at UC Davis’s plant pathology department. “It is very difficult for growers to identify due to its latency and it can spread undetected within a grow, wiping out much of the commercial value. For cannabis to achieve its potential as a commercial agricultural crop, the industry needs this type of large scale testing and treatment platform.”
Dr. Jeremy Warren, Ph.D., Director of Plant Science and Laboratory Director at Dark Heart, was the first scientist to identify HpLVd as the cause of “dudding” in cannabis. Dudding is a colloquial name for a variety of symptoms, which include loss of vigor, stunting, reduction in yield, reduction in potency, and changes in morphology. Under the leadership of Dr. Warren, Dark Heart developed a patent-pending cleaning process to eliminate HpLVd from infected specimens. Over the last four years, Dr. Warren’s discovery and hundreds of thousands of subsequent diagnostic tests have allowed Dark Heart’s lab team to reliably and demonstrably eliminate HpLVd.
“Hop Latent Viroid is impacting legal cannabis crops nationwide, not just here in California,” said Dan Grace, founder and CEO of Dark Heart. “Our new laboratory facility for biotechnology research and innovation in Davis, CA, greatly expands capacity to process viroid assays. We now have the scale to support growers and other laboratory facilities from across the country.”
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