A California cannabis genetics company has revealed a breakthrough innovation in cannabis technology.
On Monday, Oakland-based Dark Heart Industries announced the world’s first seedless triploid cannabis for commercial cultivation.
More Sinsemilla Than Sinsemilla
According to Dark Heart, its PistilGuard technology produces triploid cannabis clones and seeds that essentially cannot produce seeds, even if directly exposed to pollen.
Dark Heart says the technological innovation means that growers can plant triploid cannabis on the same scale as corn, wheat, or industrial hemp.
“Our cannabis genetics using PistilGuard triploid technology are an industry first, says Dark Heart CEO Dan Grace. “The ability to grow THC-rich cannabis from sterile, triploid seeds and clones that are guaranteed to produce virtually seedless plants is a huge win for the cultivators we support. Pollen-proof cannabis, and the advantages it offers, will help move cannabis production from artisanal cultivation to large-scale agriculture.”
While seeds are a traditional means of flora reproduction, in cannabis, their presence can degrade flower quality.
When a cannabis plant produces seeds, its cannabinoid and terpene density decreases, resulting in reduced THC production, yield loss, and diminished appeal.
Like many members of the plant kingdom, cannabis comes in male and female varieties.
While the males play a vital role in plant reproduction, they do not produce significant amounts of THC as the females do.
For a long time, cannabis growers have worked to find ways of producing seedless cannabis, or sinsemilla (seedless) as it is commonly known.
Decades ago, cannabis farmers found they could produce sinsemilla by keeping the male and female plants separate.
You Gotta Keep ‘Em Separated
Keeping the plants separated prevented pollen from the male flowers from coming into contact with female flowers.
Female cannabis flowers will produce seeds when exposed to pollen from male flowers.
The 1990s saw the introduction of feminized cannabis seeds, which would produce female plants most of the time.
Still, feminized seeds were not 100 percent foolproof as they could still be subject to accidental pollination and produce small quantities of phenotypically male plants.
Dark Heart says producing seedless plants effectively solves the potential problems of feminized seeds.
According to the company, triploid seed-based plants are practically incapable of setting seed, even when directly exposed to pollen from male plants in the same field, greenhouse, or neighboring field.
Former Magnum Seeds president Ken Owens, Ph.D. says developing triploid seedless varieties has been a huge step forward in commercial crops like watermelons, bananas, and apples.
“This trait’s introduction in cannabis is a real breakthrough that will allow higher yields, reduced costs, as well as improved aromatic and chemical qualities of the crop. All this leads to higher profitability and control of your group. Now that the scientists at Dark Heart have developed the core technology, they’ll be able to introduce new seedless, triploid-based strains and cultivars through traditional breeding that should bring cannabis production to a whole new level very soon.”
Dark Heart says PistilGuard seeds and clones will be available exclusively to its customers and partners in field trials during 2022.
The company says PistilGuard seeds and clones will be available to all commercial growers in California in 2023.