New insights in hemp chemical composition: a comprehensive polar lipidome characterization by combining solid phase enrichment, high-resolution mass spectrometry, and cheminformatics

  • Michela Antonelli
  • Barbara Benedetti
  • Giuseppe Cannazza
  • Andrea Cerrato
  • Cinzia Citti
  • Carmela Maria MontoneEmail author
  • Susy Piovesana
  • Aldo Laganà
Research Paper


The chemical composition of Cannabis sativa L. has been extensively investigated for several years; nevertheless, a detailed lipidome characterization is completely lacking in the literature. To achieve this goal, an extraction and enrichment procedure was developed for the characterization of phospholipids and sulfolipids. Firstly, a study on the solid-liquid extraction was performed, to maximize the recovery of the considered lipids; the best procedure consisted of a simple extraction with a mixture of methanol and chloroform (1:1, v/v). The hemp extracts were analyzed by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry and lipids were tentatively identified by Lipostar. To improve the number of identifications, an enrichment method, based on graphitized carbon black solid phase extraction, was evaluated to fractionate phospholipids and sulfolipids into separate eluates. Recovery and matrix effects of the procedure were determined on a mixture of standard lipids, containing representative compounds for each considered lipid class. The optimized method allowed the tentative identification of 189 lipids, including 51 phospholipids and 80 sulfolipids, in the first and second fractions, respectively. The detection of only 6 sulfolipids in the first fraction and 9 phospholipids in the second fraction proved the efficacy of the fractionation method, which also allowed the number of lipid identifications to be increased compared to the same procedure without enrichment, which scored 100 lipids. Finally, a semi-quantitative analysis permitted the hemp polar lipidome to be characterized. The results of this study allow knowledge of the hemp chemical composition to be improved with a detailed description of its phospho- and sulfolipid profiles.

Graphical abstract


Lipidomics Phospholipids Sulfolipids Graphitized carbon black Cannabis sativa Lipostar 



We thank Professor Gabriele Cruciani of Perugia University for providing us the Lipostar software and Dr. Laura Goracci for the technical assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2019_2247_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (636 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 636 kb)
216_2019_2247_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (69 kb)
ESM 2 (xlsx 68.7 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michela Antonelli
    • 1
  • Barbara Benedetti
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Cannazza
    • 2
    • 3
  • Andrea Cerrato
    • 1
  • Cinzia Citti
    • 2
  • Carmela Maria Montone
    • 1
    Email author
  • Susy Piovesana
    • 1
  • Aldo Laganà
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversità di Roma “La Sapienza”RomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Life SciencesUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Nutrition, Exercise and SportsUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.CNR NANOTEC, Campus EcotekneUniversity of SalentoLecceItaly

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