For indoor growing, air quality and filtration is critical. Without sufficient air quality controls, airborne pathogens can harm both your crop and your workers’ health, stunting your growth and potentially damaging your brand reputation as well.
The right air filtration technology can eliminate harmful pathogens from your indoor cultivation while also minimizing energy consumption. This promotes sustainability, plant and human health, and greater quality cannabis production overall.
Read on to learn more about the importance of plant health and pathogen control, especially for indoor growing, and how to choose the right air filtration system for your grow.
Plant Health: Outdoor vs. Indoor Growing
Threats to plant health differ according to the growing environment. Outdoor growing, for example, exposes the plants to uncontrolled heat, humidity, and other things like exhaust and smoke. But outdoor grows have their own advantages in the form of dilution, wind, and a much lower likelihood of mold or fungus.
Indoor growing, however, can and must be done in a very controlled environment. Airborne pathogens like mold, yeast, bud rot, and powdery mildew, to name a few, can cause significant crop loss if the air quality isn’t carefully filtered and protected.
Aside from introducing predaceous insects, there’s not much that cultivators can do to control the environment of an outdoor grow. But while it’s much easier to control the environment of an indoor grow, many indoor cultivators still fail to take the necessary precautions to protect their plants.
“It’s surprising how few cultivators have true air filtration dedicated to pathogen control,” Josh Rembusch, Vice President of Byers Scientific, remarks. “And it’s a little ironic that often those who have the ability to control the indoor air quality don’t.”
From Cultivation to Consumer
Different growing environments don’t just have different threats; they also directly impact the business model that will work best for your crop. Indoor growing tends to be more expensive and best suited to producing pure flower, while outdoor growing is better for producing biomass for extraction and manufacturing.
Another factor that may impact your business model is supply and demand. Price constraints in different markets — say, California versus New Jersey — may determine whether you’re incentivized to build a state-of-the-art negative pressure facility or a less pristine cultivation environment that still gets the job done.
However, Rembusch points out that even for small grows, every plant matters — so keeping your indoor growing facility contaminant-free is essential.
“A bad batch of product or a recall can be a real hit on somebody’s brand,” he says. “It’s a direct reflection on their ability to grow good cannabis, pass the test, and score the touchdown, so to speak.”
Because there’s so much pressure on brands to pass state quality tests, many resort to using remediation machines, which use radiation to prevent the reproduction of mold or fungus. The “dead” pathogens that remain are inactive, allowing the flower to pass quality tests, but they’re still there to be ingested by consumers.
To be clear, these machines are typically used to remediate products that contain only trace amounts of pathogens. In many cases, the contaminants aren’t even visible to the naked eye. But even small amounts can impact consumers’ health and must be addressed before the product can be sold.
Choosing the Right Filtration Technology
The best filtration technology for indoor growing should not only serve to eliminate pathogens and guard plant health, but also promote safety for workers and decrease energy use at the same time.
That’s why the team at Byers Scientific stands behind the ASPRA electrostatic precipitation and filtration technology. This technology was developed by a scientist in Holland to improve indoor air quality while using minimal energy.
It’s important to choose your indoor growing pathogen control technology carefully, because, as Marc Byers — Founder and President of Byers Scientific — notes, many people don’t understand that some solutions kill pathogens by introducing dangerous secondary hazards into the environment.
“The advent of COVID-19 brought to the forefront greater acknowledgement of the need for indoor air quality,” he says. “But it also brought in a lot of technologies that weren’t necessarily meant for environments where people are present… They may be solving one problem, but the reaction creates something potentially more lethal.”
Protecting Your Plants & People
Whether you have an outdoor or indoor growing environment, protecting your plants’ health should be a top priority. However, the methods you use to protect your plants will vary based on the type of grow you have and your overall business goals.
If you’re operating an indoor grow, filtration is essential. The right filtration technology will not only protect your plants from pathogens and other threats, but will also help you save on energy costs, all without causing harmful secondary effects to the grow environment.