Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) protein: Impact of extraction method and cultivar on structure, function, and nutritional quality

Laura Eckhardt, Fan Bu, Adam Franczyk, Thomas E Michaels, Baraem P. Ismail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is increasingly gaining traction as a novel and sustainable source of plant protein. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of two protein extraction methods, alkaline extraction coupled with isoelectric precipitation (AE-IEP) and salt extraction coupled with ultrafiltration (SE-UF) in producing hemp protein isolates (pH-HPI and salt-HPI) with high purity and yield. Structural characterization as impacted by extraction method and cultivar was performed and related to functional performance and nutritional quality. Both extraction methods, with carefully selected parameters, resulted in HPI with high purity (86.6–88.1% protein) and protein extraction yields (81.6–87.3%). All HPI samples had poor solubility (∼9–20%) at neutral pH compared to commercial soy protein and pea protein isolates (cSPI, cPPI). A relatively high surface hydrophobicity and low surface charge contributed to such poor solubility of HPI. However, HPI demonstrated similar solubility at acidic pH (50–67%) and comparable gel strength (up to 24 N) to cSPI. Comparing experimental amino acid composition to the theoretical amino acid distribution in hemp protein provided insights to the functional performance of the protein isolates. While pH-HPI demonstrated better functionality than salt-HPI, minimal structural, functional, and nutritional differences were noted among the pH-HPI samples extracted from four different cultivars. Overall, results from this work could be used to guide future attempts to further develop successful protein extraction processes, and to provide valuable insights to propel breeding efforts that target enhanced hemp protein characteristics for food applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100746
JournalCurrent Research in Food Science
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2024 The Authors


  • Functional properties
  • Hemp protein extraction
  • Hemp protein isolate
  • Nutritional quality
  • Structural characteristics

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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