Beyond cannabinoids: Application of NMR-based metabolomics for the assessment of Cannabis sativa L. crop health

Front Plant Sci. 2023 Mar 22;14:1025932. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2023.1025932. eCollection 2023.


While Cannabis sativa L. varieties have been traditionally characterized by their major cannabinoid profile, it is now well established that other plant metabolites can also have physiological effects, including minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Given the multiple applications of cannabis in the medical field, it is therefore critical to characterize it according to its chemical composition (i.e., its metabolome) and not only its botanical traits. With this in mind, the cannabinoid and metabolomic profiles from inflorescences of two C. sativa varieties with either high Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) or high cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) contents harvested at different times were studied. According to results from HPLC and NMR-based untargeted metabolomic analyses of organic and aqueous plant material extracts, we show that in addition to expected variations according to cannabinoid profiles, it is possible to distinguish between harvests of the same variety. In particular, it was possible to correlate variations in the metabolome with presence of powdery mildew, leading to the identification of molecular markers associated with this fungal infection in C. sativa.

PMID:37035042 | PMC:PMC10075229 | DOI:10.3389/fpls.2023.1025932