3 Rivers Appoints Award-Winning Phytopathologist Prof. Dr. Zamir Punja to its Advisory Board
Internationally Recognized Science Leader to Assist with Innovation and Development of Genie Lab Offerings
Vancouver, BC, March 16, 2021 – 3 Rivers Biotech (“3 Rivers“ or the “Company”), a leader in plant tissue culture propagation, pathogen testing and genetic fingerprinting in the cannabis, hemp and traditional agriculture sectors, is pleased to announce that it has appointed Prof. Dr. Zamir Punja to its Advisory Board.
A Fellow of the Canadian Phytopathological Society, Prof. Punja heads a research Laboratory at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. In his new role with 3 Rivers, Prof. Punja will assist the 3 Rivers team in developing pathogen screening strategies and customer acquisition at the Company’s Genie Lab. This will ensure its diagnostic tests fully reflect the status of pathogens affecting cannabis and hemp, as well as developing protocols aimed at identifying new strains of viruses and fungi in pathogenic infestations. Prof. Punja will also assist the Company in developing new innovations at Genie Lab to enhance the Company’s Integrated Pest Management offering and other plant health related commercial developments.
Genie Lab – The Industry Leader in Pathogen Testing
Genie Lab currently boasts the broadest set of genetic markers used in the identification of virus and fungal pathogens affecting cannabis and hemp. Many of the pathogens identified, to the Company’s knowledge, are not currently captured by any other set of tests available on the market, making 3 Rivers the leader in this field.
The Company randomly tested over 50 cultivars currently readily available on the legal cannabis market. The team found that over 80% of the samples tested showed pathogen contamination. Pathogens such as viruses and fungi, can have a significantly negatively impact on plant yield and product quality.
Identification leads to Remediation leads to Increased Economic Returns
Further cementing 3 Rivers’ leadership in the sector is its ability not only to identify pathogens, but also to offer remedial services that deliver true Generation Zero genetics. This means that the Company is able to provide customers with fully disease-free starting material, ensuring enhanced disease resistance and increased vigour, resulting in higher yields and improved cannabinoid expression (e.g. higher potencies).
The 3 Rivers’ team has worked with commercially operated facilities where cleanup of their starter material resulted in potency increases of up to 20%. Furthermore, customers that have used starter material propagated through plant tissue culture (PTC) by 3 Rivers have reported significantly enhanced pest resilience.
“We are delighted to welcome Zamir to our advisory board. We believe that his incredible stature in the industry, and his wealth of experience and knowledge will make significant contributions towards extending the scientific and commercial leadership of our Genie Lab. We look forward to working with him and developing new solutions for our clients to ensure optimal health, vigour, and product quality of cannabis.”
Prof. Dr. Punja added, “What attracted me to 3 Rivers was both their high degree of scientific knowledge and ability to test for a broad range of pathogens. This, along with their application of this knowledge in a commercial setting to improve plant health, offer remedial solutions, and deliver disease free starter material to growers across the globe, makes them a leader. The Company is uniquely and positioned to remain on the vanguard of integrated pest management (IPM), the importance of which is increasingly recognized in the exciting and rapidly developing cannabis space. I am very pleased to take on this new role and work with the accomplished team at 3 Rivers in developing new commercial innovations.”
Prof. Dr. Punja
Prof. Dr. Punja is one of the most recognized and accomplished phytopathology scientists in the world. With over 450 publications, he has generated a wealth of knowledge with important applications in commercial agriculture. Of specific relevance to the cannabis sector is his research involving characterization of fungal and viral pathogens, including the identification of previously unknown pathogens impacting crop health.
Outside of the cannabis sector, Dr. Punja’s group identified new strains of Blueberry scorch virus in British Columbia and demonstrated the extent to which virus spread was taking place. This information is currently being incorporated into management programs aimed at reducing the impact of this devastating disease in the blueberry industry.
Dr. Punja has worked closely with numerous industry groups and organizations, including the BC Greenhouse Growers Association, the Associated Ginseng Growers of BC, the BC Blueberry Council, Pacific Coast Wasabi, the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association, as well as provincial and federal government agencies. He received the NSERC Synergy Award for University-Industry collaboration in 2003 for his collaborative work with the BC Greenhouse Growers Association.
About 3 Rivers
3 Rivers Biotech is a plant biotechnology company specializing in tissue culture to provide premium pathogen-free, pesticide-free, vigorous plants to cultivators and nurseries across the United States and Internationally. We eliminate the risks and variables of commercial cultivation by providing our customers with stable genetics and vigorous, disease-free clones. Our experienced team, with over 50 million plants supplied and counting, has been focused on perfecting plant propagation for decades. Our partnerships with existing large-scale tissue culture facilities provides us with the ability to scale up and ship millions of plants globally. We are not breeders or producers but work with industry-leading breeders to provide our partners with elite genetics across the entire horticultural industry.
Forward Looking Information
This press release includes “forward-looking statements”, including forecasts, estimates, expectations and objectives for future operations that are subject to several assumptions, risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of 3 Rivers and/or Genie Lab. Investors are cautioned that any such statements are not guarantees of future performance and that actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking information represents management’s best judgment based on information currently available. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual future results may vary materially.
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