API Labs has been conducting research on Papaver somniferum since 2012 with field research investigating myriad agronomic principles influencing agricultural production. Poppies are known to thrive at high latitudes and arid climates, both of which are accurate descriptors of Western Canada and, indeed, we have confirmed the suitability of the crop in Southern Alberta.

During this time API Labs has grown and assessed several different varieties for both growth characteristics and alkaloid profiles. At ~1/10th the size of canola seed, poppy seed creates a unique challenge in both seeding and harvesting practices. The use of existing or readily available equipment will be important for the introduction of this crop.

As part of the lab-based research, we are developing a highly sensitive, high-throughput method to ascertain molecular profiles of the individual alkaloid species from small plant samples. Such a rapid and sensitive technique will permit the accurate assessment of alkaloid content in a large number of field samples and, thus, it will be possible to deduce the effects of different treatments or micro-environments on the field crops.