Nova Analytic Labs has added a new service to detect Hop Latent Viroid (HLVd), Lettuce Chlorosis Virus (LCV), and Cannabis Cryptic Virus (CCV). If left unchecked, these viruses can greatly reduce the yield and potency of cannabis plants. Nova is the only lab in Maine that offers HLVd, LCV, and CCV testing. The Portland-based lab provides analytical services to the adult-use cannabis industry, medical caregivers, hemp CBD businesses, and the general public. Nova has a pick-up service and drop boxes around the state.
A recent September 2021 article highlighted the growing threat posed by HLVd. The article summarized a survey of cannabis growers across California which found that after 200,000 tissue tests, 90% of California facilities tested positive for HLVd. The researchers noted that the virus can greatly impact yield and could cause a $4-billion loss in cannabis crops. HLVd has been detected throughout Canada and the US.
HLVd is an infectious pathogen that causes disease in cannabis and hop plants. The 'latent' term in the name represents its characteristic of lying dormant in plants for a long time without exhibiting symptoms. Because HLVd can be asymptomatic, a diagnostic screening test like that offered by Nova is the quickest way to identify its presence. The effect of the disease is often referred to as 'dudding', with symptoms that include stunted trichome production, abnormal branching, reduced vigor, and low yield. Infections typically spread when infected clones are added to a previously healthy growing environment. HLVd can also spread by mechanical transmission such as pruning tools. Some of the tests performed by Nova in 2021 on cannabis plants in Maine have detected HLVd.
Lettuce Chlorosis Virus (LCV) is commonly found in lettuce plants grown in Southern California, but can also infect cannabis. Infected plants may have stunted growth, but signs of disease may not be obvious until a few weeks into flowering. Symptoms include yellow, rolling, brittle leaves. Although the infection will not kill the plant, infected plants will produce smaller flowers with fewer trichomes, cannabinoids, and terpenes. Cannabis Cryptic Virus (CCV) is a double-stranded RNA virus that may interact with other fungal infections. Like HLVd and LCV, CCV can negatively impact cannabis yield and potency.
The most accurate diagnosis will be achieved by testing a plant in triplicate. One fan leaf from the top, middle, and bottom of a plant should be provided for individual testing. Smaller plants may require only two leaves.