UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Cannabis Seedlings Inherit Seed-Borne Bioactive and Anti-Fungal Endophytic Bacilli Dumigan, Christopher R.; Deyholos, Michael


Throughout the hundreds of millions of years of co-evolution, plants and microorganisms have established intricate symbiotic and pathogenic relationships. Microbial communities associated with plants are in constant flux and can ultimately determine whether a plant will successfully reproduce or be destroyed by their environment. Inheritance of beneficial microorganisms is an adaptation plants can use to protect germinating seeds against biotic and abiotic stresses as seedlings develop. The interest in Cannabis as a modern crop requires research into effective biocontrol of common fungal pathogens, an area that has seen little research. This study examines the seed-borne endophytes present across 15 accessions of Cannabis grown to seed across Western Canada. Both hemp and marijuana seedlings inherited a closely related group of bioactive endophytic Bacilli. All Cannabis accessions possessed seed-inherited Paenibacillus mobilis with the capacity to solubilize mineral phosphate. Additionally, seeds were found to carry genera of fungal isolates known to be Cannabis pathogens and post-harvest molds: Alternaria, Penicillium, Cladosporium, Chaetomium, Aspergillus, Rhizopus, and Fusarium. Thirteen seed-borne endophytes showed antibiotic activity against Alternaria, Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Fusarium. This study suggests both fungal pathogens and bacterial endophytes that antagonize them are vectored across generations in Cannabis as they compete over this shared niche.

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CC BY 4.0