Cannabis Technology Brings Coffee Growing to California


The introduction of biosciences into the agricultural world gives way to something thought impossible.

The process of growing cannabis is riddled with hardship and pitfalls. From the fragility of the plants themselves to the high susceptibility to viruses and fungi means that these plants need special and controlled environments along with a little help in pollination and transplanting.

Front Range Biosciences, a Colorado-based company focusing on modern agriculture, tissue culture, and in particular the production of pathogen-free high-value cannabis plants, is behind an innovative approach to solving these problems which also helps coffee growers.  In 2016, Front Range Biosciences launched itself in the development of a method of tissue culturing that avoided all these issues. When collecting samples of cannabis, the team ensures that they are absolutely free of bacteria and viruses. The plants are then grown in their own respective containers and are fed with the correct nutrients and amount of light. Certain processes such as rooting, shooting, and elongation are controlled through the use of hormones. During this “manufacturing process”, there is no need to use pesticides because the environment is fully under control.

Even if in Southern California there are no traditional diseases that affect coffee regions, Frinj Coffee, a company that launched itself in the production of coffee since 2002, prefers not to take any risks while trying to make South California the next specialty coffee capital of the world. As a result, the company has opted for the clean stock program proposed by Front Range Biosciences. These coffee plants are already growing up the hills near Santa Barbara, far from the tropical climate. This special variety flourishing is called Geisha.

Now with the loss of the natural “mixing” of genes due to wind pollination and differences in a full grove of coffee trees, there is cause for concern. On the off chance that the gene pool of a crop of Frinj Coffee is susceptible to a certain fungus, the whole crop could go under due to the genetic similarity. Whereas in a natural environment a few trees could get “lucky” and have mutated to counteract the fungus. But this is a risk that Frinj Coffee is ready to take. The reason is that they will be keeping hundreds or even thousands of unique varieties safe and sound like a tissue vault instead of a seed vault. Thus, if certain crops are wiped out, they can go over and deploy the plantation again.

Though there are greater risks, there are greater rewards. With the growing of coffee in non-indigenous climates, this gives a great boost to the international market. The added benefits of biosciences gives way to different breeds and different flavor profiles to be explored in the world of coffee.

Posted 5/15/18 by Matthew


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