Asterion Cannabis Inc, a private Canadian company, said Tuesday that its wholly-owned subsidiary has inked a collaborative research pact with the University of Queensland for an 18-month, 'proof-of-concept' program for the clonal propagation of cannabis plants.
The research to be conducted by the university’s Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) will speed up clonal propagation, which is the multiplication of genetically identical copies of individual plants.
It will establish a “proprietary, genetically stable, repeatable, high yield tissue” propagation procedure for a number of cannabis strains, the company said in a statement.
Asterion Australia has struck up a non-binding agreement to acquire about 90 hectares of farmland in South East Queensland for the production of medicinal cannabis. The ambitious project will ultimately have an annual capacity in excess of 500,000 kilograms.
The facility will be home to the world's largest greenhouse cannabis operation, covering a 4.3 million square foot site (approximately 99 acres).
This program essentially gives Asterion Australia the opportunity to populate its proposed facility with disease-free plantlets and genetically standardized strains.
Special plant tissue culture
The facility will use special plant tissue culture technology that will eliminate the need for mother plants, increase efficiency, lower costs and yield disease-free plantlets.
Stephen Van Deventer noted that the research program would lead to the production of the “highest quality, low-cost, genetically uniform” strains of cannabis.
"This agreement is a game changer for Asterion and cannabis cultivation,” said Van Deventer in a statement. “Not only is QAAFI supported by the Queensland Government, they are ranked in the top five agricultural research institutions in the world. With their ability to provide unparalleled expertise, Asterion is on the way to realizing its vision of being a leader of precision agriculture."
The intellectual property generated through the program will be owned by Asterion, creating a suite of technologies and procedures necessary for large-scale cannabis facilities.
Paget Hargreaves, president of Asterion said the company “looked forward” to applying the advanced research results at Asterion's advanced cultivation, research and processing facility in South East Queensland.
To be built in three phases, the Asterion facility will be automated and powered by renewable energy. It will also include full extraction and processing equipment, as well as an R&D wing to create next-generation medicinal cannabis products.
Contact Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]