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Cannabis Cultivation Conference: Understanding Drying and Curing

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Research by Dr. Allison Justice and Dr. Markus Roggen of OutCo into the fundamental processes of cannabis drying and curing.

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Cannabis Cultivation Conference: Understanding Drying and Curing

  1. 1. www.outco.com Allison Justice, PhD, VP Cultivation Markus Roggen, PhD, VP Extraction OutCo, San Diego 1 Understanding, Modulating and Optimizing Drying and Curing
  2. 2. www.outco.com • Background on Cannabis • What is Drying / Curing? • Learning from other Fields • Gasses during Cure • Cannabinoids during Dry and Cure • Terpenes during Dry and Cure • Future Research Direction • Thanks / Product Plugs / Veneration 2 Abstract
  3. 3. www.outco.com 3 Background
  4. 4. www.outco.com 4 Background
  5. 5. www.outco.com 5 Background
  6. 6. www.outco.com • To remove moisture & to make smell better. BUT WHY???? Drying: To prevent spoilage Curing: Even out moisture Removal of chlorophyll? Convert starches to sugars? Exchange of gasses? Homogenize moisture? Once we find out what is happening we can optimize to speed up the process 6 Post-Harvest: INDUSTRY GUESSES…
  7. 7. www.outco.com 7 What is Drying and Curing? Dry Room Conditions • 60-74˚F • 40-60% humidity • Water Activity monitoring • Aim for <0.65Aw by day 5-7 Curing Conditions • Different containers • bucket, glass, box, bag, … • Ambient conditions • 40-50% humidity, 70˚F • Length of time • At least 1 week, up to 3 month
  8. 8. www.outco.com • Moisture loss is driven by a difference in vapor pressure • Balance between inhibiting mold growth and terpene loss Water Activity during Dry and Cure 0.45 0.55 0.65 0.75 0.85 0.95 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 WaterActivity Day Water Activity Aw of 0.65 represents the value in which Botrytis cannot continue to grow Terpene Content (% dry weight) Rapid Dry Slow Dry Lemonade Haze 1.42 1.82 Sour Tangie 1.69 2.2
  9. 9. www.outco.com • Curing is necessary for flavor and smokability • Aim is to reduce chlorophyll content, aka color curing • Balance of ‘alive’ for yellowing and ‘dying’ for wilting • Finally, leaves are ’killed’ to stop chemical and color changes 9 Curing of Tobacco Figure ref.: Tobacco Science (2000) 44:51-58
  10. 10. www.outco.com Flue Cure • Approx. 1 week in barn with external heat source • Slowly raising temperature • High in sugar and nicotine Air Cure • 4 to 8 weeks in well-ventilated barns • Low in sugar, high in nicotine: Cigars 10 Curing of Tobacco
  11. 11. www.outco.com Fire Cure • 3 days to 10 weeks in barn with smoldering hardwood fire • Low in sugar, high in nicotine: Pipe, chewing Sun Cure • For oriental tobacco, high in sugar and low in nicotine 11 Curing of Tobacco
  12. 12. www.outco.com • Dominated by hydrolytic enzymes, e.g. starch to sugar • Furans from browning positively influence flavor • Degrading carotenes negatively influence flavor Success depends on: • Leaf maturity • Temperature • Humidity • Water content of leaf 12 Chemistry of Curing Figure ref.: DOI: 10.1080/00380768.2013.842884
  13. 13. www.outco.com • Wine is made by fermenting grape sugar to ethanol • Wine is not grape juice with alcohol • Wine’s aroma comes from chemical changes during winemaking and wine storage. • Nearly 9000 components were assigned. 13 Aging of Wine
  14. 14. www.outco.com Reactions are influenced by: • Matrix: protic, acidic • Ambient conditions: gasses, temperature • Container: barrel, glass, plastic, cork • Time Part-per-trillion concentrations of certain compounds can affect flavor 14 Aging of Wine
  15. 15. www.outco.com Odorants are formed or ’break free’ during storage; often pH dependent: • Glycoside hydrolysis • Ester hydrolysis and esterification 15 Aging of Wine
  16. 16. www.outco.com • Transpiration: Process by which plants and plant parts lose moisture through the transport of water through the skin, evaporation of this water from the plant surface, and convective mass transport of the water to the surroundings. • Respiration: Chemical/enzymatic process by which fruits and vegetables convert sugars and oxygen into CO2, water and heat. 16 Plant Harvest Physiology
  17. 17. www.outco.com What gasses are given off in other plants? How do these correlate with the curing of cannabis “The Burp”? 18 Cannabis vs. post-harvest research
  18. 18. www.outco.com 19 When looking at stored cut apples… Food Sci. Technol (Campinas) vol.33 no.1 Campinas Jan./Mar. 2013 Epub Mar 19, 2013. Estimate of respiration rate and physicochemical changes of fresh-cut apples stored under different temperatures.
  19. 19. www.outco.com Plant Material: • Mendo Breath • Tangimal Treatments: • Control (no burp) • OutCo Burp: for the first three days lids will be removed for 15-20 minutes and flower turned • Industry Burp: lid opened daily for 1 hour for two weeks and flower turned The Burp Project
  20. 20. www.outco.com The Burp Project: CO2 Ambient CO2 Ambient CO2 Burp Burp • CO2 builds over time • A burp releases CO2 and instantly encourages the buildup of CO2 • Industry burp, although longer, immediately and most drastically increases CO2. • Allowing in more O2 for respiration? Burp
  21. 21. www.outco.com Burp End of work day Buckets are not air tight The Burp Project: CO2 Burp Burp
  22. 22. www.outco.com Conclusions: • The burp is not a release of moisture • Humidity in a bucket follows the trend of the humidity in the room • Humidity stays constant to the starting humidity • Next step is to prove homogenization… The Burp Project: RH Ambient CO2 Burp Burp Burp
  23. 23. www.outco.com Temperature in the bucket is directly related to the temperature in the room. The Burp Project Burp Burp
  24. 24. www.outco.com • Ethylene is required for normal plant growth and development, including germination, fruit ripening, senescence, and regulation of cell expansion and elongation • Also considered a stress hormone; reacts to stress signals, such as mechanical wounding and pathogen infection. • Shown to increase essential oil and growth in sage, yet reduce in peppermint. • Used to induce ripening of green fruit such as banana and tomato. Gases during Cure - Ethylene Plant Cell. 2002; 14(Suppl): s131–s151. Ethylene Biosynthesis and Signaling Networks. Kevin L.-C. Wang, Hai Li, and Joseph R. Ecker.
  25. 25. www.outco.com Treatments: CONTROL: No intentional altering of ethylene levels PLUS: Liquid ethephon at 200 ppm C2H4 MINUS: 2 Sachets containing 2.5 grams of EthylBloc™ Conclusions and questions: Ethylene concentrations in post-harvest Cannabis flowers are extremely high, and were consistent across all treatment groups. Is this a stress response due to wounding? Does ethylene increase respiration? Gasses during Cure Ethylene
  26. 26. www.outco.com So many molecules we should keep track of 27 What is in Cannabis to a Chemist? >140 Cannabinoids >200 Terpenes ~30 Flavonoids Alcohols, Phenols Aldehydes, Ketones Alkaloids Carbohydrates, Fatty Acids Lactones
  27. 27. www.outco.com Does anything happen to THC, CBD, …? 28 Cannabinoids during Cure 15% 20% 25% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Cannabinoidbywt. Days of Cure Potency
  28. 28. www.outco.com 0 2 4 6 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 %decarboxylation Days of Cure THC/THCA Does anything happen to THC, THCA, …? 29 Cannabinoids during Cure
  29. 29. www.outco.com Does anything happen to terpenes? Please! 30 Terpenes during Cure 0% 1% 2% 3% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Terpenesbywt. Days of Cure Terpenes
  30. 30. www.outco.com Maybe to individual terpenes? 31 Terpenes during Cure 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 0 2 4 6 0 5 10 15 20 25 Terpenesbywt. Days of cure AutoCure Terpenes Limonene Bisabolol Linalool Humulene bCP Myrcene
  31. 31. www.outco.com Now we can start to optimize 32 Terpenes during Cure 0% 100% 200% 300% Change MAP Change VAC Change Control Changeovertime Terpenes in Cure Limonene Myrcene Terpinolene Total
  32. 32. www.outco.com Spectrophotometry • Sugars, chlorophyll, carotenoids • pH changes Is fermentation taking place? • Lactic acid What do humidity manipulation packs actually do? Other additives for curing, e.g. oak wood. 33 Future Research
  33. 33. www.outco.com Cultivation techniques to enhance post-harvest quality • Flushing • No significant differences!! BUT that does not mean other beneficial enzymatic processes are not set in motion. Future Research Irrigation Management Strategies for Medical Cannabis in Controlled Environments. Thesis completed at The University of Guelph. Jonathan Stemeroff.
  34. 34. www.outco.com 35 Thanks Nate Controls AutoCure Henkelman Vacuum Systems
  35. 35. www.outco.com 36 The Crew Blake Grauerholz Taylor Trah Matt Zbiec Chris Cortina and team Thank You
  36. 36. www.outco.com 37 Thank You! See expanded results from our experiments on IG: @outcosd & @dr.justice_grows And our blog: http://outco.com/blog/

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