Bioprocessing of Hempseed (Cannabis sativa L.) Food By-Products Increased Nutrient and Phytochemical In Vitro Bioavailability during Digestion and Microbial Fermentation

Songtao Fan, Zhihong Zhang, Gary J. Duncan, Amanda Morris, Lorraine Scobbie, Donna Henderson, Philip Morrice, Wendy R. Russell, Sylvia H. Duncan, Madalina Neacsu* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Downloads (Pure)


Agricultural hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is currently underutilised for food and could be pivotal to the development and expansion of a low-carbon food production system and to contribute to sustainable diets. Dehulling hempseed for food (for hempseed hearts) generates several by-products, including hempseed “screenings”. This study assessed the effects of several bioprocessing treatments (using enzyme mixtures, yeast, and combinations of both) on hemp screenings nutrient and phytochemical content and their digestion and metabolism in vitro (using a gastrointestinal digestion model and incubations with human mixed microbiota-faecal samples from three healthy donors). The nutrients and phytochemicals’ metabolites were measured using targeted LC-MS/MS and GC analysis. The hempseed screenings are rich in insoluble NSP (16.46 ± 0.86%), protein (20.15 ± 0.11%, with 3.83% tryptophan), syringaresinol, p-coumaric and protocatechuic acids. The hempseed screenings are highly fermentable, resulting in a significant increase in acetic, propionic, and butyric acids following fermentation with faecal microbiota. The bioprocessing treatments significantly increased the extractability of the phytochemicals, especially in free and alkaline-labile forms, without improving the fibre fermentation. The findings from this study support the use of hempseed screenings as a source of dietary nutrients for biodiversification and development of potential functional foods for metabolic and gut health.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5781
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number9
Early online date8 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2023

Bibliographical note

The authors are grateful to the volunteers for their participance in this study and to the Good Hemp company for their hempseed screening samples donation. Furthermore, Songtao and Zhihong would like to thank the China Scholarship Council (CSC) and Nanchang University doctoral students abroad visiting scholar program for the funds received to cover their maintenance in UK during their stage as visiting Ph.D. students from China.


  • hemp (Cannabis sativa L.)
  • hempseed by-products
  • plant secondary metabolites
  • microbial metabolites
  • enzyme bioprocessing
  • in vitro digestion
  • in vitro fermentation
  • short chain fatty acids
  • dietary fibre
  • plant protein


Dive into the research topics of 'Bioprocessing of Hempseed (Cannabis sativa L.) Food By-Products Increased Nutrient and Phytochemical In Vitro Bioavailability during Digestion and Microbial Fermentation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this