Prebiotic potential of hemp blended drinks fermented by probiotics

Plant-based drinks as substitute for milk consumption are raising striking interest in the food industry.



New mixes of hemp seed drinks as substitute for milk consumption are proposed.
The prebiotic activity was assessed by an innovative prebiotic score made with qPCR.
The best probiotic hemp seed drinks are those made with a bacterial consortium.
Prebiotic compounds, like volatile organic acids, improve the drink health potential.

Lorenzo Nissen Emanuele di Carlo Andrea Gianotti
Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna, DISTAL (Dept. of Agricultural and Food Sciences), V.le Fanin 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy
Received 7 June 2019, Revised 17 January 2020, Accepted 21 January 2020, Available online 25 January 2020.


Plant-based drinks as substitute for milk consumption are raising striking interest in the food industry. Soy and rice drinks are the most studied and successful milk substitutes. An untapped source is hemp seed, which is a powerhouse of nutrients bearing bioactive compounds, but the production of derived drink is limited. The present work is about introducing new formulations of commercial hemp seed-derived drink to be fermented with probiotics (Lactobacillus fermentum, Lb. plantarum and Bifidobacterium bifidum). In this work for the first time the prebiotic activity of different hemp seed drinks was assessed by cultural and quantitative PCR methods. In addition, to better describe the prebiotic potential, VOCs alkenes and volatile organic acids were characterized by a metabolomic approach via GC-MS SPME. Obtained results showed that the hemp seed drinks had strong prebiotic activity, ability to support probiotics growth and to increase the content of some bioactive compounds. These outputs are in part due to the presence of different terpenes that inhibit the growth of enteropathogens and to high levels of acetate, propionate and butyrate produced during fermentation that support the growth of probiotics. Although the health potential of hemp seed is well known, derived drinks are hitherto scarcely transformed and distributed, thus this work could provide some basics to produce prebiotic and probiotic fermented hemp seed drinks.

Graphical abstract


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