Determination of the nicotine content of various edible nightshades (Solanaceae) and their products and estimation of the associated dietary nicotine intake

J Agric Food Chem. 1999 Aug;47(8):3113-20. doi: 10.1021/jf990089w.


This investigation was initiated as a result of proposals in the literature that dietary nicotine intake could contribute to the level of nicotine metabolites in biological fluids such as salivary cotinine concentration. Nicotine concentration was determined in several frequently consumed vegetables from the nightshade family (Solanaceae) (i.e., tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines, and peppers), as well as in some of their processed products. The edible Solanaceae fruit analyzed in this investigation were found to contain relatively consistent amounts of nicotine in the range of 2-7 microg/kg for fresh fruits. Nevertheless, the nicotine concentrations of the investigated tomato varieties decreased significantly with increasing degree of ripening of the fruits. In addition, a variety of black as well as green teas was investigated for the nicotine content. Nicotine content in tea leaves was found to be highly variable and sometimes much larger than in the Solanaceae fruits. On the basis of the observed concentrations and the respective food consumption data for different countries, a distributive analysis of the results suggests that the mean daily dietary nicotine intake for the population of the countries for which consumption data were available is approximately 1.4 microg/day, 2.25 microg/day at the 95th percentile.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diet*
  • Humans
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / chemistry
  • Nicotine / analysis*
  • Solanaceae / chemistry*
  • Solanum tuberosum / chemistry
  • Tea / chemistry
  • Vegetables / chemistry*


  • Tea
  • Nicotine