Alkaloids pp 153-161 | Cite as

Assessment of Burley and Dark Tobacco Alkaloids During Storage, Aging, and Fermentation

  • R. A. Andersen
Part of the Modern Methods of Plant Analysis book series (MOLMETHPLANT, volume 15)


Pyridine alkaloids in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) and tobacco smoke are widely recognized for their contributions to tobacco quality and usability (Palmer 1963; Tso 1990). Nicotine is the most abundant alkaloid and may provide a pleasurable alerting effect associated with tobacco uses. The neurobiology of nicotine has been reviewed by Ashton et al. (1979). Health risks of tobacco alkaloids have also been summarized (Davis 1987). Nitrosated alkaloids may be carcinogenic (Hoffmann et al. 1987). Sums of alkaloids other than nicotine are generally small but may range up to 20% of total alkaloids (Andersen et al. 1991). Most alkaloids identified in postharvest burley and dark tobaccos or products containing them are given in Table 1. All of these compounds may be referred to as alkaloids because they occur naturally in green or processed tobacco, or they can be classified as “parent” alkaloids and their acylated, nitrosated, or oxidized derivatives. Structures of six representative tobacco alkaloids are shown in Fig. 1.


Total Alkaloid Cyanogen Bromide Hewlett Packard Tobacco Alkaloid Burley Tobacco 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

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  • R. A. Andersen

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