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Title: Hops (Humulus lupulus L.) as a novel multipurpose crop for the Mediterranean region of Europe: Challenges and opportunities of their cultivation
Authors: Rossini, Francesco 
Virga, Giuseppe
Loreti, Paolo
Iacuzzi, Nicolò
Ruggeri, Roberto 
Provenzano, Maria Elena
Issue Date: 2021
The common hop (Humulus lupulus L.) is a dioecious perennial climbing plant, mainly known for the use of its female inflorescences (cones or, simply, “hops”) in the brewing industry. However, the very first interest towards hops was due to its medicinal properties. Actually, the variety of compounds present in almost all plant parts were (and still are) used to treat or prevent several ailments and metabolic disorders, from insomnia to menopausal symptoms as well as obesity and even cancer. Although hops are predominantly grown for hopping beer, the increasing interest in natural medicine is widening new interesting perspectives for this crop. Moreover, the recent success of the craft beer sector all over the world, made the cultivated hop come out from its traditional growing areas. Particularly, in Europe this resulted in a movement towards southern countries such as Italy, which added itself to the already existing hop industry in Portugal and Spain. In these relatively new environments, a complete knowledge and expertise of hop growing practices is lacking. Overall, while many studies were conducted globally on phytochemistry, bioactivity, and the genetics of hops, results from public research activity on basic hop agronomy are very few and discontinuous as well. The objective of this article is to provide an overview of possible uses, phenology, and agronomic aspects of hops, with specific reference to the difficulties and opportunities this crop is experiencing in the new growing areas, under both conventional and organic farming. The present review aims to fill a void still existing for this topic in the literature and to give directions for farmers that want to face the cultivation of such a challenging crop.
ISSN: 2077-0472
DOI: 10.3390/agriculture11060484
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
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