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Ara Avadisi Abramians

HpLVd – Hop Latent Viroid – The Smallest Big Problem in the Hemp Industry

By Hemp, Viroid Testing

As the name suggests, Hop Latent Viroid (HpLVd) was first identified in hops. Ironically, infected hop plants are asymptomatic. In contrast, infected hemp plants (Cannabis sativa) may or may not manifest any apparent symptoms. Symptoms include stunted growth, reduced vigor, brittle stems with less flower mass and stunted trichomes. This disease is commonly known as dudding.

Viroids are the smallest known pathogens of row crops and fruit trees. Like some plant pathogenic viruses, viroids are single-stranded RNA molecules; however, viroids are smaller in size and are not encapsidated. Potato spindle tuber viroid was the first viroid that was discovered in 1971. To date, twenty-nine more viroids have been discovered and characterized.

Studies indicate that the HpLVd is mainly introduced by infected propagation material. Subsequent viroid transmission from infected to healthy plants is shown to be through horticultural practices. Such mode of transmission (mechanical transmission) is also very common in phytopathogenic viral species. In hops, transmission of HpLVd was shown to be more effective with tools (e.g. pruning shears) rather than natural abrasions caused by physical contact of individual plants. In addition, no evidence of transmission and long-distance spread of the viroid by aphids has been presented.

The main component of successful management of HpLVd is prevention. Using disease-free seeds and propagation material is the most effective way of avoiding HpLVd. CSP Labs is equipped to test high volumes of seeds and plant material for HpLVd with high throughput molecular testing to ensure rapid turnaround times. Moreover, our plant pathologists have developed assays to test multiple diseases along with HpLVd simultaneously.

Throughout decades of active collaboration with seed companies, nurseries, and farmers of all sizes, CSP Labs has stayed focused on two principles; quality results and excellent customer service. In addition to disease testing on hemp, our genotyping lab provides variety identification and sex marker testing to the hemp industry.