Applications of Hemp Polymers and Extracts in Food, Textile and Packaging: A Review
Hemp (Cannabis sativa Linn.) is a high-yielding annual crop farmed for its stalk fiber and oil-producing seeds. This specialized crop is currently experiencing a revival in production. Hemp fiber contains pectin, hemicellulose and lignin with superior strength, while hemp seed oil contains unsaturated triglycerides with well-established nutritional and physiological properties. Therefore, focus on the utilization of hemp in various industries is increasing globally. This study reviewed recent applications of hemp components, including fiber and extract, in food, textile and packaging applications. Hemp fibers mainly consisting of cellulose derivatives have superior strength to be used as reinforcements in thermoplastic packaging and paper. Combined physical and chemical modifications of hemp fibers improved mechanical and barrier properties of composite materials. Physically and chemically processed hemp extracts have been used in food and non-food applications. Functional foods containing hemp oils deliver nutrients by their unsaturated lipids. High-quality hemp fiber with several fiber modifications has been applied in garments. Innovative applications of hemp components and by-products are increasing, thereby facilitating utilization of green sustainable biomaterials.