Microbial Players in Indoor Cultivation: Benefits, Risks, and Remedies

C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE


Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is predicted to reduce environmental impacts and build resilient, local agricultural systems. In addition to high-value food crops, CEA is used to cultivate therapeutic natural products, such as cannabis. Cannabis is increasingly recognized for its medicinal and recreational value, however, unlike many other medicines and consumed goods, quality and product safety standards have not been established in the United States. 
As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, one of the largest hurdles for cannabis manufacturers is the rigorous compliance testing of cannabis products. Microbial contamination is the leading cause of compliance failures for cannabis flower products, which often fail microbial tests due to heavy bioburdens of indicator microorganisms and/or detection of human pathogens. Although microorganisms are a risk to cannabis manufacturers on several levels, little is understood about their role across the cultivation and post-harvest processes and how they may positively or negatively influence plant, worker, and consumer health. Therefore, practical guidelines on how to identify and manage microbial populations in these indoor cultivation environments must be established.
This presentation will explore the factors that allow various microorganisms to survive and thrive in the indoor environment and provide practical guidelines and tools for cultivators, scientists, and quality professionals to understand and combat microbial threats to plants, humans, and product quality. 

Learning Objectives:

1. Describe the broad groups of microorganisms tested for in cannabis compliance.

2. Explain how indoor agricultural environments, combined with the inputs of raw materials, building materials, plants, air, water, and humans, all contribute to the microbial populations that survive and thrive in these CEA environments.

3. Discuss the benefits and risks of microorganisms to plants, humans, and product quality.

4. Recognize best practices and scientific tools that can be utilized to monitor and manage microbial risks.

Show Resources
You May Also Like
Loading Comments...
Show Resources