Welcome to the National Hemp Association’s In Conversation Series where we highlight our business members and affiliates. 

In this installment, NHA Executive Director, Erica Stark, interviews Mike Mortiner of  Dewey Scientific where innovation meets the cosmos!

H.E.M.P – Hemp Experiments in Microgravity Project

For this ISS mission they have developed a dwarf, auto-flowering variety of industrial hemp. The plant reaches ~24 inches at maturity, begins flowering at 3 weeks, and contains <0.3% THC (industrial hemp). The mission will grow industrial hemp from seed to maturity in 70 days on board the ISS. After which the flowers will be harvested by the astronauts and returned to Dewey Scientific for transcriptomic and metabolomic analysis, cannabinoid and terpene profiling, and trichome structure analysis. Learn what this could mean for the hemp industry by watching the video below!

Previous plant studies involving Arabidopsis on the ISS have shown the differential expression of genes and gene families in response to the microgravity environment of space. Examples of this include the up-regulation of pathogen defense genes in leaves and hypocotyls, as well as wounding responses in roots (Paul et al. BMC Plant Biology 2013, 13:112). This organ-specific plant defense response to microgravity suggests that a similar response could be seen in cannabis trichomes whose structure and oils are a physical and chemical shield against arthropod and microbial attack. It is anticipated that microgravity studies of the hemp flower could reveal novel trichome genetics and metabolism which could lead to improved natural product development and IP.

Dewey Scientific, in collaboration with their implementation partner – Redwire Space, they have been defining the exact experiment that will fly to the ISS. This includes defining the watering and lighting parameters, nutrient requirements, PONDS plant growth hardware, the Redwire Greenhouse, and the post-flight analytical techniques. They hope to see this experiment on the ISS by mid-2024.

You can help make sure this important research laucnhes by making a tax deductibe donation to Hemp Innovations Foundation