Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a multi-functional crop cultivated for fiber, seeds, or phytochemical extraction. Once a major industrial crop in several agro-environments, its cultivation strongly declined in developed countries since World War II. Exploiting hemp vegetative tissue as innovative food has remained largely unexplored. The current work examined the potential production of hemp microgreens. Six cultivars were assessed for yield and composition of organic acids, amino acids, polyphenols and phytocannabinoids, through IC, FLD-HPLC and UHPLC-HRMS, respectively. Bioactive composition was strongly related to the hemp variety. 'Silvana' demonstrated the highest total content of amino acids and essential amino acids, high concentrations of cannflavin A and B, and moderate levels of cannabidiol and cannabigerol. 'Finola' distinguished by the highest concentration of cannflavins and total polyphenols, and the lowest levels of Δ9-THC. Regardless of varietal differences, hemp microgreens proved widely safe in terms of Δ9-THC content.
Keywords: Amino acids profile; Cannabidiol; Cannabigerol; Cannabisin; Cannflavin; Flavonoids; Hydroxycinnamic acids; Tetrahydrocannabinol; UHPLC-Q-Orbitrap HRMS.
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