An overview of pathogen and insect threats to fibre and oilseed hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) and methods for their biocontrol


Abstract: Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a treasure trove plant for both sustainable agriculture and industrial usage. It has multi-application properties due to the production of fibre and high quality oil, biomass as a safe source of energy, and numerous compounds for the pharmaceutical sectors, including mainly cannabinoids (THC and CBD) which have a wide range of psychotropic activities. Hemp, like other plants, suffers from a wide range of pests and pathogens. They cause plant damage, huge annual loss of biomass and seed yield as well as the reduction of the quality of the products. With increased demand for hemp products, its production area is anticipated to expand greatly; previously developed tolerance of environmental pressures or defense mechanisms against biotic threats may not meet the demands of new environments and the additional pathogens that will be encountered. In this review we focus on the most common fungal, oomycetes, viral and pest diseases attacking hemp both worldwide and in Poland. We also highlight the methods of biological control that make possible the maintenance healthy plants as well as the high quality of hemp products.

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