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Asian Journal of Research in Chemistry
Year : 2016, Volume : 9, Issue : 5
First page : ( 205) Last page : ( 211)
Print ISSN : 0974-4169. Online ISSN : 0974-4150.
Article DOI : 10.5958/0974-4150.2016.00035.3

Determination of major tobacco alkaloids in mainstream cigarette smoking

Kurgat C. C.1, Kibet J. K.1,*, Cheplogoi P. K.1, Limo S. C.2, Kimani P. M.1

1Department of Chemistry, Egerton University, P.O Box 536–20115, Egerton, Kenya

2Department of Physics, University of Eldoret, P.O. Box 1125-30100, Eldoret, Kenya

*Corresponding Author E-mail: jkibet@egerton.ac.ke

Online published on 21 June, 2016.

Abstract

The popularity of tobacco use worldwide has kicked off one of the greatest clinical debates on human toxicology and public health in general. Accordingly, this study investigates some of the alkaloids in tobacco believed not only to be addictive and carcinogenic but also as precursors for other related medical problems. The characteristic behaviour, identification and product evolution of β-nicotyrine and 3, 5-dimethyl-1-phenylpyrazole in tobacco is reported extensively in this study for the first time. Two commercial cigarette brands coded SM1 and ES1 were explored for evolution of major alkaloids over a modest temperature range of 200–700° C for a total pyrolysis time of 3 minutes using a tubular quartz reactor, typically in increments of 100°C using nitrogen as the pyrolysis gas at a residence time of 2.0 seconds under 1 atmosphere pressure. The heating rate of the heater was ∼ 20°C s−1. The pyrolysate was passed over 10 mL analytical grade methanol and analyzed using a Gas-Chromatography hyphenated to a mass spectrometer (GC-MS) with a mass selective detector (MSD). GC-MS results showed that nicotine was the major alkaloid in both cigarettes reaching a maximum at ∼ 400°C (8.0 x 108 GC-Area counts) for ES1 cigarette and 500°C (∼2.7 x 108 GC-Area counts for SM1 cigarette. Clearly, the ratio of nicotine for ES1 to SM1 is approximately 3 indicating that ES1 cigarette is rich in nicotine. Based on this data alone, ES1 cigarette was found to be more addictive.

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Keywords

Alkaloid, pyrolysate, toxicology, β-nicotyrine.

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