Experts at Phytome Life Sciences are developing new AI-driven lighting technologies to maximise medical cannabis crop quality and yield.
Phytome Life Sciences has announced a collaboration with OSRAM Digital Systems to develop AI-driven lighting technologies for pharmaceutical agriculture, including the cultivation of medical cannabis.
Research studies of LED spectra and intensity have shown a positive impact on floral cannabis yield.
Experts at Phytome Life Sciences, an independent research company, are now elucidating the effects of specific wavelengths of light on the chemical profile, conformity and yields of target molecules in medical cannabis cultivation.
The programme will be undertaken at Phytome Life Sciences research campus which is said to hold a UK Government licence to cultivate and research high-THC cannabis.
Unlocking the potential of plants
Dr Sebastian Vaughan, Chief Executive of Phytome Life Sciences said: “The focus of our pharmaceutical agriculture program is the scalable, uniform and reproducible production of specific high-value therapeutic molecules in a plant-based system.
“To date, therapeutics have been identified and isolated from plants before being synthetically produced in a laboratory. This OSRAM Digital Systems collaboration will assist the building of our new technologies to unlock the significant medical potential of plants.
“We will combine its results with our highly advanced chemical manufacturing engineering capabilities to identify, isolate and produce specific plant derived molecules for our advanced medical drug research and development.”
This new research collaboration will first build novel high-throughput research tools for screening plant responses to spectra and other environmental effects.
Leveraging state of the art sensors, analytical techniques and the effect of environmental changes will be monitored in real-time while machine learning algorithms will be developed and trained to create and optimise dynamic environmental recipes that leverage the epigenetic programming of the plant to deliver a precision yield of a target ingredient.
The impact of epigenetics
Plant traits are not only governed by genetics but by epigenetics.
Academic research shows exploiting epigenetic variations and the control of epigenomes create promising plant selection strategies to improve plant adaptation to changing environmental cues and ensure crop yield and quality.
Phytome’s modelling shows that by delivering and monitoring the precise needs of the plant, dynamic lighting technologies could reduce energy consumption and capital expenditure by effectively eliminating any excess inputs of electricity, plant nutrition and water to maximise growth and yields.
This, combined with optimised plant cultivars for scalable production in controlled-environment agriculture systems is critical to the strategic differentiation and commercial opportunity of these technologies compared with glasshouse and in-the-field cultivation of pharmaceutical plants.
Social and economic benefits
Dr Vaughan continued: “Medical plant cultivation requires high yields. Scientists and clinicians require precise production and formulation of novel active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to undertake robust drug discovery and clinical trials. Patients and clinicians rightly expect us to develop standardised, safe and efficacious medicines that can be confidently licensed and prescribed.
“Scalable precision manufacturing of important and rare APIs in plants offers breakthrough opportunities for the production of cannabis-based medicines and the wider biotherapeutics industry.
“Combining lighting technology from OSRAM Digital Systems and Phytome’s strong biopharmaceutical research capabilities, will identify repeatable and scalable growing and plant selection conditions for pharmaceutical agriculture to generate lasting social and economic benefits.”
Dino Jakobi, head of Horticulture Sales EMEA at OSRAM Digital Systems, commented: “Horticultural projects can require individual custom designs. Often, application-proven standard modules are applied to provide efficient and effective solutions for most plants, maximising their growth and yields.
“For our experienced partners who know the exact Light Spectrum required to grow each specific plant, we develop LED-based modules, drivers and control systems to create the most suitable lighting system. Customised solutions are a great advantage for this type of application.”