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Concept: Hemp


Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) plants produce and accumulate a terpene-rich resin in glandular trichomes, which are abundant on the surface of the female inflorescence. Bouquets of different monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes are important components of cannabis resin as they define some of the unique organoleptic properties and may also influence medicinal qualities of different cannabis strains and varieties. Transcriptome analysis of trichomes of the cannabis hemp variety ‘Finola’ revealed sequences of all stages of terpene biosynthesis. Nine cannabis terpene synthases (CsTPS) were identified in subfamilies TPS-a and TPS-b. Functional characterization identified mono- and sesqui-TPS, whose products collectively comprise most of the terpenes of ‘Finola’ resin, including major compounds such as β-myrcene, (E)-β-ocimene, (-)-limonene, (+)-α-pinene, β-caryophyllene, and α-humulene. Transcripts associated with terpene biosynthesis are highly expressed in trichomes compared to non-resin producing tissues. Knowledge of the CsTPS gene family may offer opportunities for selection and improvement of terpene profiles of interest in different cannabis strains and varieties.

Concepts: Plant, Cannabis, Terpene, Hemp, Medical cannabis, Cannabis sativa


It is generally assumed that the production of plant fibre textiles in ancient Europe, especially woven textiles for clothing, was closely linked to the development of agriculture through the use of cultivated textile plants (flax, hemp). Here we present a new investigation of the 2800 year old Lusehøj Bronze Age Textile from Voldtofte, Denmark, which challenges this assumption. We show that the textile is made of imported nettle, most probably from the Kärnten-Steiermark region, an area which at the time had an otherwise established flax production. Our results thus suggest that the production of woven plant fibre textiles in Bronze Age Europe was based not only on cultivated textile plants but also on the targeted exploitation of wild plants. The Lusehøj find points to a hitherto unrecognized role of nettle as an important textile plant and suggests the need for a re-evaluation of textile production resource management in prehistoric Europe.

Concepts: Cotton, Textile, Hemp, Flax, Prehistory, Textiles, Fiber crop, Synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures


In many parts of the world, the possession and cultivation of Cannabis sativa L. are restricted by law. As chemical or morphological analyses cannot identify the plant in some cases, a simple yet accurate DNA-based method for identifying C. sativa is desired. We have developed a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay for the rapid identification of C. sativa. By optimizing the conditions for the LAMP reaction that targets a highly conserved region of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) synthase gene, C. sativa was identified within 50 min at 60-66 °C. The detection limit was the same as or higher than that of conventional PCR. The LAMP assay detected all 21 specimens of C. sativa, showing high specificity. Using a simple protocol, the identification of C. sativa could be accomplished within 90 min from sample treatment to detection without use of special equipment. A rapid, sensitive, highly specific, and convenient method for detecting and identifying C. sativa has been developed and is applicable to forensic investigations and industrial quality control.

Concepts: Cannabis, Identification, Hemp, Cannabis sativa


Cannabis sativa has been cultivated throughout human history as a source of fiber, oil and food, and for its medicinal and intoxicating properties. Selective breeding has produced cannabis plants for specific uses, including high-potency marijuana strains and hemp cultivars for fiber and seed production. The molecular biology underlying cannabinoid biosynthesis and other traits of interest is largely unexplored.

Concepts: DNA, Evolution, Plant, Cannabis, Cannabinoid, Hemp, Cannabis sativa


Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) cultivation has proliferated in northwestern California since at least the mid-1990s. The environmental impacts associated with marijuana cultivation appear substantial, yet have been difficult to quantify, in part because cultivation is clandestine and often occurs on private property. To evaluate the impacts of water diversions at a watershed scale, we interpreted high-resolution aerial imagery to estimate the number of marijuana plants being cultivated in four watersheds in northwestern California, USA. Low-altitude aircraft flights and search warrants executed with law enforcement at cultivation sites in the region helped to validate assumptions used in aerial imagery interpretation. We estimated the water demand of marijuana irrigation and the potential effects water diversions could have on stream flow in the study watersheds. Our results indicate that water demand for marijuana cultivation has the potential to divert substantial portions of streamflow in the study watersheds, with an estimated flow reduction of up to 23% of the annual seven-day low flow in the least impacted of the study watersheds. Estimates from the other study watersheds indicate that water demand for marijuana cultivation exceeds streamflow during the low-flow period. In the most impacted study watersheds, diminished streamflow is likely to have lethal or sub-lethal effects on state-and federally-listed salmon and steelhead trout and to cause further decline of sensitive amphibian species.

Concepts: Water, Hydrology, Salmon, Cannabis, Hemp, Rainbow trout, Cannabis sativa


Drug policy, whether for legal or illegal substances, is a controversial field that encompasses many complex issues. Policies can have effects on a myriad of outcomes and stakeholders differ in the outcomes they consider and value, while relevant knowledge on policy effects is dispersed across multiple research disciplines making integrated judgements difficult.

Concepts: Scientific method, Drug, Decision theory, Heroin, Hemp, Political science, Illegal drug trade, Prohibition


Non-drug varieties of Cannabis sativa L., collectively known as “hemp”, have been an important source of food, fiber and medicince for thousands of years. The ever-increasing demand for vegetables oils has made it essential to characterize additional vegetable oil through innovative uses of its components. The lipid profile showed that linoleic (55%), α-linolenic (16%) and oleic (11%) were the most abundance fatty acids. A yield (1.84-1.92%) of unsaponifiable matter was obtained and the most interesting compounds were: β-sitosterol (1905.00 ± 59.27 mg/ Kg oil), campesterol (505.69 ± 32.04 mg / Kg oil), phytol (167.59 ± 1.81 mg/ Kg oil), cycloartenol (90.55 ± 3.44 mg/ Kg oil) and γ-tocopherol (73.38 ± 2.86 mg/ 100 g oil). This study is an important contribution for Cannabis sativa L. valorization as a source of bioactive compounds contributing to research novel applications for hemp seed oil in the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and other non-food industries.

Concepts: Nutrition, Fat, Cannabis, Hemp, Linoleic acid, Cannabis sativa, Hemp oil


A simple method was developed for isolating DNA from jute seed, which contains high amounts of mucilage and secondary metabolites, and a PCR protocol was standardized for detecting the seedborne pathogen Macrophomina phaseolina. The cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide method was modified with increased salt concentration and a simple sodium acetate treatment to extract genomic as well as fungal DNA directly from infected jute seed. The Miniprep was evaluated along with five other methods of DNA isolation in terms of yield and quality of DNA and number of PCR positive samples. The Miniprep consistently recovered high amounts of DNA with good spectral qualities at A260/A280. The DNA isolated from jute seed was found suitable for PCR amplification. Macrophomina phaseolina could be detected by PCR from artificially inoculated as well as naturally infected jute seeds. The limit of PCR-based detection of M. phaseolina in jute seed was determined to be 0·62 × 10(-7)  CFU g(-1) seed. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: Stem rot caused by Macrophomina phaseolina is the most important disease of jute, a bast fibre crop. Seedborne infection of the pathogen is generally detected by conventional methods such as blotter method and agar-plate method followed by microscopy. But, these techniques are time-consuming and not sensitive. In the present investigation, M. phaseolina was detected from jute seeds by PCR, which is a rapid and reliable technique. However, high contents of mucilage and secondary metabolites in jute seed hinder DNA isolation and PCR amplification. To address these problems, we developed a Miniprep which yielded a sufficient amount of good quality DNA as compared to other methods and standardized a PCR protocol, which could amplify the fungal DNA present in seed. It would enable efficient PCR-based detection of M. phaseolina from large number of jute seed lots.

Concepts: DNA, DNA sequencing, Hemp, Jute, Corchorus olitorius, Corchorus, Bast fibre, Kenaf


ABSTRACT The cultivation of four industrial hemp cultivars (Felina 32, Chamaeleon, Uso31, and Finola) was investigated for oil production in the north-east of Italy along two years. The oils of all cultivars resulted in rich amount of linoleic acid (ω-6) and α-linolenic acid (ω-3). Felina 32 and Chamaeleon oils exhibited the highest amount of linoleic acid (59%) and α-linolenic acid (18%). Finola and Uso31 oils resulted in the richest of γ-linolenic acid (5-6%). All hempseed oils presented high oxidation stability and an acceptable initial quality. It is suggested that these oils can be used to produce EFA dietary supplements high in ω-6 and ω-3 of vegetal origin.

Concepts: Fatty acid, Fat, Cannabis, Hemp, Linoleic acid, Cannabis sativa, Hemp oil


This study takes combined field trial, lab experiment, and economic analysis approaches to evaluate the potential of industrial hemp in comparison with kenaf, switchgrass and biomass sorghum. Agronomy data suggest that the per hectare yield (5437kg) of industrial hemp stem alone was at a similar level with switchgrass and sorghum; while the hemp plants require reduced inputs. Field trial also showed that ∼1230kg/ha hemp grain can be harvested in addition to stems. Results show a predicted ethanol yield of ∼82gallons/dry ton hemp stems, which is comparable to the other three tested feedstocks. A comparative cost analysis indicates that industrial hemp could generate higher per hectare gross profit than the other crops if both hemp grains and biofuels from hemp stem were counted. These combined evaluation results demonstrate that industrial hemp has great potential to become a promising regional commodity crop for producing both biofuels and value-added products.

Concepts: Plant stem, Biofuel, Hemp, Crops, Biomass, Jute, Biodiesel, Underutilized crops