Safer Method for Total Alkaloids (as Nicotine) in Tobacco

In 2014, the CORESTA (Cooperation Centre for Scientific Research Relative to Tobacco) Routine Analytical Chemistry Sub-Group (RAC) undertook a study to compare a new, safer method of determining total alkaloids (as nicotine) in tobacco. In the classical method, highly toxic potassium cyanide (KCN) reacts with chloramine-T. The proposed method uses potassium thiocyanate (KSCN) with sodium dichloroisocyanurate dihydrate (DCIC) for color development. The two methods compared were CORESTA Recommended Method No. 35 (CRM35) / ISO 15152 and a new method proposed by the China National Tobacco Quality Supervision and Test Center (CTQTC).

In total 19 laboratories participated in the 2014 study. Collaborating with China Tobacco Company, 16 of the participating labs used SEAL’s AA3 continuous flow analyzer including British American Tobacco (BAT). The SEAL Analytical Application development team in Germany and the US worked closely with CTQTC, China and the RAC committee to help develop this method.  The comparative studies showed highly reproducible and comparable results between the approved KCN method and the proposed KSCN method in both water and acetic acid tobacco extracts.

The new “Safer Nicotine” method was submitted to the CORESTA committee in 2016 and was approved in April 2017.  This is now CORESTA CRM No. 85.  The method has been submitted for ISO approval and the approval is expected to be announced early in 2018. CRM No.35 has now been obsoleted and replaced by the new CRM 85, Safer Nicotine method. SEAL proudly offers this method, and it can be run on both the macro-flow (AA3) and micro-flow (QuAAtro) continuous flow analyzers.

CORESTA, established in 1956, is an association whose purpose is to promote international cooperation in scientific research relative to tobacco and its derived products.  Members include organizations that support R&D activities related to tobacco or its derived products. SEAL is a proud member of the CORESTA RAC sub-group, which meets twice a year to discuss development and maintenance of CORESTA recommended methods.

In addition to the total alkaloid nicotine methods, SEAL also offers many methods for tobacco analysis including the following CRMs: No.36 – Nitrate, No.37 - Reducing Substances (total sugars), and No.38 - Reducing Carbohydrates (sugars). The AA3 is the instrument of choice for tobacco analysis worldwide. SEAL partners with BAT (British American Tobacco) for method development worldwide. 



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