Nosing out the cannabis competition: U.S. patent sniffs IP rights for terpene-based pesticide

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Digipath, Inc. reports it has filed a U.S. provisional patent application in a bid to secure “a method of using natural, plant-based, non-toxic compounds instead of chemical pesticides in cannabis and hemp cultivation.”

The patent application relates to “a method of determining terpene-based biocontrol agents for cannabis and hemp,” notes a statement from the service-oriented independent testing laboratory, data and media firm focused on developing cannabis and hemp markets. Terpenes are compounds responsible for the aroma of cannabis.

Looking to take advantage of terpene production by cannabis plants as naturally derived microbial control agents, “not only can terpenes be used to distinguish and categorize cannabis cultivars from one another, we noticed that certain cultivars fail for mould much more often than others and it can be tied to their terpene chemoprofile,” says Cindy Orser, Digipath’s chief science officer.

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With terpenes being major components of plant-derived essential oils, “natural terpenes play a critical role in a plant’s interaction with its environment, including repelling pests and attracting pollinators,” the statement points out.

“Mould presents a difficult problem for many cannabis cultivators, resulting in a failure rate of approximately 10 percent flower harvests in Nevada, with higher failure rates in California,” the company reports. “Mould infections cost cultivators significant money and time, and present potential health risks for consumers,” it adds.

With regard to pesticides, “through its testing lab operations in Nevada, Digipath has observed a roughly one percent failure rate of cannabis flower submitted for testing due to pesticide issues. Results in neighbouring states like California are significantly worse, upwards of 20 percent in some areas,” the company press release states.

Though the company’s efforts are focused on its core market of cannabis, Digipath’s “science team believes that there are other large agricultural markets for this technology.”

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