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Safer analysis method

19th February 2018


Seal Analytical, a global manufacturer of laboratory analytical equipment, has announced the release of a new safer method for Total Alkaloids (as Nicotine) in tobacco analysis. The company's Lalicia Potter says: "The new method avoids the use of highly toxic reagents, which will be an enormous advantage to anyone involved with tobacco analysis."

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 colour 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 analyser including British American Tobacco (BAT). The Seal Analytical Application development team in Germany and the USA 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, and is now CORESTA CRM No. 85. The method has been submitted for ISO approval and an announcement is anticipated shortly. CRM No.35 has now been made obsolete and replaced by the new CRM 85, Safer Nicotine method. Seal Analytical offers this method on both the macro-flow (AA3) and micro-flow (QuAAtro) continuous flow analysers.

CORESTA, established in 1956, is an association whose purpose is to promote international cooperation in scientific research relating to tobacco and its derived products. Seal is a 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). 





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