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Blog: Worried with HpLVD? So was our client (I)


  • As with most diseases, prevention is better than cure.

  • Source your genetics from breeders with a tissue culture lab.

  • Alphatype starts each seed production cycle with disinfected, micropropagated material.


Alphatype supplies bulk feminized seeds to online retailers worldwide. Recently, one of our favorite clients asked us the following question:


The question:


"Apparently, HpLVD is a disease that's been causing some issues lately and is transferrable from plants to seeds as well. We plan to write some content on it but would like to learn how our breeders deal with this. Do they test for it regularly, perhaps? Any other precautionary measures we take to keep this disease from spreading?"


After addressing her question, we thought our reply would make for a good blog post. Keep in mind the request came from an executive, not a breeder, so we purposely kept the response light with technicisms and easy to understand for a professional that works in an office, not a greenhouse or a lab.


Our answer:


"HpLVD is all about prevention, because no treatment is ideal - they all require you to poison the plant with chemicals.

As HpLVD indeed is transmitted from mothers to their seeds, any professional breeding operation should operate under strict aseptic conditions when manipulating their base genetic material. This can only be achieved in a tissue culture lab. We have two separate tissue culture labs, one to preserve genetic material and micropropagate and another just to preserve duplicates as a safeguard (in case the other is contaminated / broken into / rampaged by fire / hit by a terrorist attack).

Alphatype's Cannabis Tissue Culture Lab
Diana showing off some tissue samples from our Colombian lab.

A tissue culture lab in cannabis serves three main purposes:

  1. It allows you to preserve your genetics in a space and cost efficient way, with no need for having the live, full-sized mother plants in vegetative state in a greenhouse or indoor grow.

  2. Disinfect genetic material to ensure it is always clean and uncontaminated.

  3. Micropropagation (producing clones).

"Tissue" is technically any part of a cannabis plant, but, in cannabis, tissue culture is typically done with a cutting that includes part of the stem, a node, leaves and a meristem. It can be as small as a couple of inches long. This small cutting includes all the plant's genetic information and can be used to disinfect and produce a clone.


To preserve your genetics, you process that cutting in a laminar flow cabinet, also known as a tissue culture hood. This is a sterile stainless steel workspace designed to manipulate plant material in a safe environment. Through a combination of HEPA-filtered directed airflow and a UV-C germicidal lamp, you prevent the contamination of the plant material you're working with. Sterilizing your tools with burning ethanol or other disinfectants is also part of the SOP. That material is then placed in a small plastic or glass test tube or petri dish filled with a specially formulated, gel-like nutrient media. and stored in a room with a specific set of lighting, temperature and humidity conditions.


That tissue can also be used to micropropagate, which is how we start all our seed production cycles. Micropropagation is the process of rooting clones from that sterilized tissue. By micropropagating our starting material for our seed progenitors in our tissue culture lab, we ensure all our plants are disease free.


I hope this answers your question. I tried to dumb it down as much as possible but can go down the rabbit hole if needed."


The takeaways:


We take your business seriously. By investing in infrastructure and technology, we ensure all the seeds and clones we produce are disease-free. And we're happy to help your marketing team put out content that will help you sell more seeds.


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