Roots blossoms with early pot proof-of-concept results

By Zoe Gross. Published at Aug 28, 2018, in Technology

Ag-tech innovator, Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies (ASX:ROO), this morning unveiled encouraging interim results for its world-first proof-of-concept to cool medical cannabis roots grown in a greenhouse in northern Israel.

Impressively, these results show a more than 25% vegetative growth increase and enlarged stem diameters on cooled root zone cannabis plants compared with uncooled control plants.

This proof-of-concept, which will wind up in November, is a collaboration with Canndoc Limited, one of Israel’s leading medical cannabis growers. ROO’s innovative Root Zone Temperature Optimisation (RZTO) technology is being used to cool the root systems of cannabis seedlings and stabilise temperature between scorching hot summer days and cooler nights.

These encouraging interim results look to offer sizeable value to farmers in the blossoming medicinal cannabis space — a market that’s expected to be worth up to $31 billion globally over the next four years.

Current pot prices in the Californian medicinal cannabis market sit at US$2-3 per gram. Given that, the Canndoc control crops have typically produced 600 grams of flowers per plant each growing cycle, making them worth US$1200-$1800. ­

Roots CEO, Dr Sharon Devir, noted that these early results are very promising. “When you consider that most commercial cannabis greenhouses have thousands of plants, the increased yields, shortened growing cycles will add up to a significant financial benefit to farmers,” Devir said.

“It is one reason we were keen to get into the ag-tech sector providing micro-climate control equipment for the root zone area to growers in the medicinal cannabis market – which expects up to $31 billion in sales globally over the next four years.

“Like other high-value crops where quality is of paramount importance that we have done proofs-of-concept on, we’re finding that by applying our RZTO technology to keep root zones at optimum temperatures, we’re able to greatly increase yields and shorten growing cycles..

“So far in this summer pilot we have been able to keep the root zone of cannabis plants at more than 7 degrees below the root zones of the control crops. RZTO is providing increased protection against heat and stabilising the temperature range between night and day.”

ROO’s RZTO technology is achieving a 7+ degree difference between cooled and uncooled roots

The pilot will continue until November — only a couple of months from now — at which point ROO and Canndoc will examine the effects of root zone cooling on cannabinoid profile, content and composition, crop yield and weight, quality, uniformity, stem diameter and growing cycle duration.

In recent months, ROO has demonstrated how its disruptive technology can be used in everything from hydroponic lettuce growth and winter basil to the buzzing medical cannabis space, and these pleasing results make for a further confidence boost for its finely honed technology.

And investors seem to concur. On the back of this morning's news, ROO has been on a high, currently up 6% at 26.5 cents.

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