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Soaking tobacco for nicotine and flavor - A chemists' perspective

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by , 06-27-2010 at 06:37 PM (9893 Views)
Here's a topic I've addressed a number of times in various threads, but I thought I might discuss it here.

What can one expect from soaking tobacco in various solvents (alcohol, PG, VG) to get some real tobacco flavor and/or nicotine?

As far as getting flavor, that's a pretty easy question. If you soak and get a result that you like (either as a liquid in itself or as a flavor additive to regular eliquid) and you don't mind the extra wear and tear on your attys, you've done good. (Assuming you accept that anything that involves soaking tobacco will be less "safe" than good clean regular e-liquid).

As far as getting an appreciable nicotine concentration, soak procedures are self-limiting. What I mean by this is simply that the more tobacco you soak (your nicotine source), the more solvent it's going to take to get nicotine to come out of the tobacco.

Here's a practical example:

You have 1 gram of tobacco. It's likely that this 1 gram of tobacco contains around 20 mg of nicotine. If you use 1 mL of PG to extract it, you could get as much as 20 mg/mL, right?

Wrong.

How much of the nicotine will come out? Maybe 50% if you're feeling generous, probably less. So now we're down from 20 mg/mL to 10 mg/mL. But what's this? When we add 1 mL of PG to 1 gram of tobacco, the tobacco just slurps up the PG.

So we add more PG, say 5 mL total. Now we've got some liquid on top to extract into.. but now we're putting that 10 mg nicotine (tops!) into 5 mL of PG, so we're down to 2 mg/mL and we've still made brown goo.

You see the problem.

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Updated 06-27-2010 at 06:40 PM by DVap

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Comments

  1. Jacoji's Avatar
    I have made some delicious brown goo - and agreed, it really gunks up the works.
  2. Nat79's Avatar
    SO if you wanted to extract nic from tobacco, what are your options or is it to technical to get in to?
  3. DVap's Avatar
    Yep, too technical and dangerous in no small part.
  4. Sundodger's Avatar
    DVap, I know this might be crossing a line but, has there been any discussion using isomerization, using eggplant and tomato plants to get our nic, or is that the dangerous part? Just wondering with the FDA breathing down.
    Starlyte2 and ZoltanZee like this.
    Updated 10-11-2013 at 04:14 PM by Sundodger
  5. PLANofMAN's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sundodger
    DVap, I know this might be crossing a line but, has there been any discussion using isomerization, using eggplant and tomato plants to get our nic, or is that the dangerous part? Just wondering with the FDA breathing down.
    I'm not Dvap, but there has been some discussion about this. The long and short of it is that yes, you can get nicotine out of tomato plants, but it's not worth the effort when you can easily grow tobacco in your garden and just extract the nicotine from that.
    westvirginia likes this.
  6. Lastlokean's Avatar
    This is why good extraction procedure is a methodical skill.

    If you want to extract 1 gram of tobacco realistically:

    1: Lay out flat and pre-moisten/dampen to near saturated with water.
    2: Freeze and thaw, back and forth 2-3x for cell disruption. Or hit it once good with a vacuum.
    3: Extract once with 10 ml ethanol, pressing gently or better yet centrifuge, to recover majority.
    4: Extract again with 6 ml ethanol.
    5: Extract again with 4 ml ethanol.
    ... Diminishing returns... Optionally freeze precipitate plant oils/waxes for better purity... Add some dry ice if you want to be really fancy.
    6: Collect all 3 extracts most likely just under 20ml of solvent if the tobacco was adequately pre-moistened. (This is best case 1mg/ml, worthless until...)
    7: Evaporate down to xx mg,ml of concentrate. If you get total 60 mg it is 28%~33% pure, the rest is other tobacco/plant stuff.
    8: Dilute to a total of 2 ml of VG/PG for 10 mg/ml theoretical result. Most likely will be 85+% of this.
    Triwuffus and Traveling1 like this.
    Updated 01-16-2014 at 04:25 PM by Lastlokean
  7. Kathibg57's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sundodger
    DVap, I know this might be crossing a line but, has there been any discussion using isomerization, using eggplant and tomato plants to get our nic, or is that the dangerous part? Just wondering with the FDA breathing down.
    this may have been covered elsewhere but I'm reading it here for *my* first time...THERE IS NICOTINE IN EGGPLANT AND TOMATOES???? Do you know how much? I'm truly hearing this for the first time in my, not short, life!! Wow!! <--- Shocked and amazed!!
  8. Lastlokean's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nat79
    SO if you wanted to extract nic from tobacco, what are your options or is it to technical to get in to?
    Without going into technical detail/advice I would mention methods I would use...

    #1: Steam distillation of freebased tobacco -> extract from distillate with NPS(ether/dcm) -> strip solvent w/vacuum or evaporate -> quite pure alkaloids w/trace solvent -> purify with fractional distillation assisted with vacuum or recrystallize in some other manner.

    #2: Standard A/B extraction or B/A extraction -> moderately pure alkaloids -> recrystallize/purify.
    Food safe A/B on tobacco, looks legit to me: http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/for...on-method.html

    #3: Solvent extraction -> nasty tar -> winterize (freeze precipitate fats with cold saturated ethanol+dry ice) -> less crude extract, very flavorful and delicious.
    Cold ethanol extraction: http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/for...vironment.html
    Starlyte2 likes this.
  9. StartofLife's Avatar
    No one has posted one of the easiest methods of extraction,and that is distallation!
    Lastlokean and geda like this.
  10. Starlyte2's Avatar
    Sundodger, I know that quite a few plants can be used as a source of nicotine, not just tobacco. I don't know, however, if they contain the same additional alkaloids needed for WTA.?????
    This would be interesting not only for extraction, but also from the legal point of view.
    At the moment the legal attacks on Vaping are pretty much International, and many countries want it classed as a tobacco product.
    What would it be classed as if the source of nicotine was another plant entirely, and the flavors of a synthetic origin?
    This must be posed as a question in the appropriate section, IMO.
    Updated 07-05-2014 at 03:51 PM by Starlyte2
  11. Starlyte2's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by PLANofMAN
    I'm not Dvap, but there has been some discussion about this. The long and short of it is that yes, you can get nicotine out of tomato plants, but it's not worth the effort when you can easily grow tobacco in your garden and just extract the nicotine from that.
    Speak for yourself! Here tobacco growing is strictly controlled, and you can't, legally, grow a couple of plants in your back yard.
    France (the "here") is very stingy with its' licenses for growing tobacco on a large scale, too. It is grown, but not very widely, and I've never seen a field of tobacco sitting beside the road, unfortunately