Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Cannabis Inflorescence Yield and Cannabinoid Concentration Are Not Improved with Long-Term Exposure to Short-Wavelength Ultraviolet-B Radiation

Version 1 : Received: 10 June 2021 / Approved: 11 June 2021 / Online: 11 June 2021 (11:31:18 CEST)

How to cite: Rodriguez-Morrison, V.; Llewellyn, D.; Zheng, Y. Cannabis Inflorescence Yield and Cannabinoid Concentration Are Not Improved with Long-Term Exposure to Short-Wavelength Ultraviolet-B Radiation. Preprints 2021, 2021060317 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202106.0317.v1). Rodriguez-Morrison, V.; Llewellyn, D.; Zheng, Y. Cannabis Inflorescence Yield and Cannabinoid Concentration Are Not Improved with Long-Term Exposure to Short-Wavelength Ultraviolet-B Radiation. Preprints 2021, 2021060317 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202106.0317.v1).

Abstract

It is commonly believed that exposing Cannabis sativa (cannabis) plants to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can enhance Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) concentrations in female inflorescences and associated foliar tissues. However, a lack of published scientific studies has left knowledge-gaps in the effects of UV on cannabis that must be elucidated before UV can be utilized as a horticultural management tool in commercial cannabis production. In this study we investigated the effects of UV exposure level on photosynthesis, growth, inflorescence yield, and secondary metabolite composition of two indoor-grown cannabis cultivars: ‘Low Tide’ (LT) and ‘Breaking Wave’ (BW). After growing vegetatively for 2 weeks under a canopy-level photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) of ≈225 μmol·m–2·s–1 in an 18-h light/6-h dark photoperiod, plants were grown for 9 weeks in a 12-h light/12-h dark “flowering” photoperiod under a canopy-level PPFD of ≈400 µmol·m–2·s–1 and 3.5 h·d–1 of supplemental UV radiation with UV photon flux densities (UV-PFD) ranging from 0.01 to 0.8 μmol·m–2·s–1 provided by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with a peak wavelength of 287 nm (i.e., biologically-effective UV doses of 0.16 to 13 kJ·m–2·d–1). The severity of UV-induced morphology (e.g., whole-plant size and leaf size reductions, leaf malformations, and stigma browning) and physiology (e.g., reduced leaf photosynthetic rate and reduced Fv/Fm) symptoms worsened as UV exposure level increased. While the proportion of dry inflorescence yield that was derived from apical tissues decreased in both cultivars with increasing UV exposure level, total dry inflorescence yield only decreased in LT. The equivalent Δ9-THC and cannabidiol (CBD) concentrations also decreased in LT inflorescences with increasing UV exposure level. While the total terpene content in inflorescences decreased with increasing UV exposure level in both cultivars, the relative concentrations of individual terpenes varied by cultivar. The potential for using UV to enhance cannabis quality must still be confirmed before it can be used as a production tool for modern, indoor-grown cannabis cultivars.

Subject Areas

Cannabis sativa; potency; ultraviolet; indoor; sole source; terpene

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