Waste management is a huge concern for the Cannabis growers' community. After the female Cannabis flowers are harvested the growers are left to dispose of all the vegetative parts. Legal growers must document every stage of plant management that includes plant material that is being discarded. Thus, Cannabis disposal is subjected to strict waste regulations. Furthermore, traditionally the majority of crop residues are used as animal feed but the strict regulations on Cannabis residues are preventing this use.
One way to manage this crop waste is the incorporation of crop amendments into the soil (green manure). Ploughing plant debris into the soil to generate green manures has been proposed to affect plant health and to control diversity of soil borne and foliar pathogens. My lab expertise in plant defence mechanisms together with our ability to use identified characteristics (e.g. fluorescein diacetate, substrate respiration and biocontrol agent population) that correlates with green manure diseases suppression will advance us towards the calibration of Cannabis waste as green manure.
In our laboratory we also study the accumulation of plant secondary metabolites during plant defence responses. Since it is known that developmental stages and environmental conditions affect the metabolite profiling in Cannabis, we plan to study the suppressive effect of cannabis metabolites throughout the different developmental stages and under different conditions on Botrytis cinerea and other plant pathogens. We will later use those findings to calibrate cannabis waste as suppressive green manure for the control of soil borne pathogens and for metabolic engineering in order to confer resistance against B. cinerea.
Keywords: green manure, plant pathogens, metabolic engineering, secondary metabolites.