, Volume 250, Issue 6, pp 1983–1996 | Cite as

Evolution of temporal dynamic of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odors of hemp stem during field retting

  • Brahim Mazian
  • Stéphane Cariou
  • Mathilde Chaignaud
  • Jean-Louis Fanlo
  • Marie-Laure Fauconnier
  • Anne Bergeret
  • Luc MalhautierEmail author
Original Article


Main conclusion

New non-destructive approach to evaluate the retting process was investigated. Increase of retting duration led to a decrease of VOCs emitted by plants and change of color and plant odor. The variation of VOCs and odor could be used as indicators for the degree of retting.


In the hemp industry, retting is an upstream bioprocessing applied to the plants to facilitate the decortication of fibres from the central woody part of the stem. This treatment is currently carried out in an empirical way on the ground which leads to variability in the hemp stems quality, and thus to the hemp fibres quality. Therefore, controlling retting treatment is a crucial step for high-performance hemp fibre. In this study, a new approach is used to assess the retting degree by following the evolution of VOCs emitted by plants during different retting durations. Either harvest time or retting induces a change in VOCs released by plants. During plant maturity, volatile compounds emitted decreased with a factor of about 2, in relation to VOCs released at the end of flowering. Regardless of the harvest period, the majority of VOCs and odor concentrations, monitored by olfactometric analysis, decrease gradually until some of them disappear at the end of retting. Likewise, the green plant odor disappears during retting with an increase of dry plants odor and an appearance of fermented odor at the end of retting. Following the evolution of VOCs emitted by plants during retting could be a tool for farmers to improve the retting management.


Hemp fibres Field retting VOCs Odor Growth stage 



The authors would like to thank the “CIVAM Chanvre Gardois (Bouquet, France)” for making available for us a plot of land to conduct this study.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not profit sector.

Supplementary material

425_2019_3280_MOESM1_ESM.docx (250 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 249 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brahim Mazian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stéphane Cariou
    • 1
  • Mathilde Chaignaud
    • 3
  • Jean-Louis Fanlo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Marie-Laure Fauconnier
    • 4
  • Anne Bergeret
    • 2
  • Luc Malhautier
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratoire du Génie de l’Environnement Industriel des Mines d’Alès, IMT Mines AlèsUniversité de MontpellierAlès CedexFrance
  2. 2.Centre des Matériaux des Mines d’Alès, IMT Mines AlèsUniversité de MontpellierAlès CedexFrance
  3. 3.Olentica sasAlèsFrance
  4. 4.Laboratoire de Chimie des Molécules Naturelles, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, eUniversité de LiègeGemblouxBelgium

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