Planta. 2022 Mar 13;255(4):85. doi: 10.1007/s00425-022-03865-8.
Hand-held Raman spectroscopy can be used for highly accurate differentiation between young male and female hemp plants. This differentiation is based on significantly different concentration of lutein in these plants. Last year, a global market of only industrial hemp attained the value of USD 4.7 billion. It is by far the fastest growing market with projected growth of 22.5% between 2021 and 2026. Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a dioecious species that has separate male and female plants. In hemp farming, female plants are strongly preferred because male plants do not produce sufficient amount of cannabinoids. Male plants are also eliminated to minimize a possibility of uncontrolled cross-fertilization of plants. Silver treatments can induce development of male flowers on genetically female plants in order to produce feminized seed. Resulting cannabinoid hemp production fields should contain 100% female plants. However, any unintended pollination from male plants can produce unwanted males in production fields. Therefore, there is a growing demand for a label-free, non-invasive, and confirmatory approach that can be used to differentiate between male and female plants before flowering. In this study, we examined the extent to which Raman spectroscopy, an emerging optical technique, can be used for the accurate differentiation between young male and female hemp plants. Our findings show that Raman spectroscopy enables differentiation between male and female plants with 90% and 94% accuracy on the level of young and mature plants, respectively. Such analysis is entirely non-invasive and non-destructive to plants and can be performed in seconds using a hand-held spectrometer. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis and collected Raman spectra demonstrate that this spectroscopic differentiation is based on significantly different concentrations of carotenoids in male vs female plants. These findings open up a new avenue for quality control of plants grown in both field and a greenhouse.
Source: ncbi 2