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Humulus lupulus L., a very popular beer ingredient and medicinal plant: overview of its phytochemistry, its bioactivity, and its biotechnology

Bocquet, L., Sahpaz, S., Hilbert, J. L., Rambaud, C., Rivière, C.
Phytochemistry reviews 2018 v.17 no.5 pp. 1047-1090
Humulus lupulus, alpha acids, antiseptics, beers, biotechnology, bitterness, brewing industry, essential oils, estrogenic properties, females, hops, humulone, inflorescences, ingredients, medicinal plants, odors, phenolic compounds, secondary metabolites, sedatives, sesquiterpenoids
Humulus lupulus L. (Cannabaceae), commonly named hop, is widely grown around the world for its use in the brewing industry. Its female inflorescences (hops) are particularly prized by brewers because they produce some secondary metabolites that confer bitterness, aromas and antiseptic properties to the beer. These sought-after metabolites include terpenes and sesquiterpenes, found in essential oil, but also prenylated phenolic compounds, mainly acylphloroglucinols (bitter acids) from the series of α-acids (humulone derivatives). These metabolites have shown numerous biological activities, including among others, antimicrobial, sedative and estrogenic properties. This review provides an inventory of hop’s chemistry, with an emphasis on the secondary metabolites and their biological activities. These compounds of biological interest are essentially produced in female inflorescences, while other parts of the plant only synthetize low quantities of them. Lastly, our article provides an overview of the research in plant biotechnology that could bring alternatives for hops metabolites production.