Leveraging Microbial Biostimulants to Improve Cannabis Yield and Quality
Abstract: Plants are always associated with a microbial community that play essential roles in plant health and responses to environmental changes – cannabis is, of course, no exception. The interactions, and molecular signal exchange that occurs between plants their microbiome regulates plant responses to biotic (pathogen) and abiotic (salinity, heat, drought, etc.) stresses. Recent research in other plant species has highlighted that the application of microbial biostimulants (beneficial microbes, or compounds they excrete) can improve crop yields, particularly in stressful growing environments. While the cannabis microbiome has been explored in a few scientific publications, our knowledge in this area is much smaller than for other cultivated plants. Even fewer studies have examined the effects biostimulants on cannabis yield and cannabinoid/terpene profiles. In this talk, we will explore 1) the concept of the holobiont (the plant plus its microbiome), 2) how the plant microbiome contributes to plant stress and disease resistance, 3) what is known about cannabis response to application of microbial biostimulants, and 4) how novel microbial biostimulants can be developed and tested for efficacy in cannabis.