Volatile organic compounds of tobacco leaves versus waste (scrap, dust, and midrib): extraction and optimization

J Sci Food Agric. 2021 Mar 30;101(5):1822-1832. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.10796. Epub 2020 Sep 29.


Background: Volatile organic compounds are present at very low concentration but exhibit an important influence on flavor and aroma of tobacco leaves and products. During tobacco processing, at different stages, tobacco wastes occur. Since they are delivered directly from the tobacco plant, they are expected to have a similar aroma profile.

Results: The volatile composition of three types of tobacco waste (scrap, dust, and midrib) was characterized for the first time and compared with tobacco leaves' volatile composition. Ultrasound-assisted extraction with hexane followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was successfully applied. Different ultrasound-assisted extraction parameters (temperature, time, and solvent:solid ratio) showed a significant influence on the volatile profiles of the extracts obtained. The most important compounds in tobacco leaves, scrap, and dust with the highest abundance were nicotine (up to 87.5%), 4,8,13-duvatriene-1,3-diol (up to 16.2%), and neophytadiene (up to 9.4%). In midrib, only nicotine was present in all extracts. The most abundant compounds in the extracts were quantified and subjected to optimization using response surface methodology.

Conclusion: Regression analysis showed that 83-98% of the variation was explained by the models obtained. The experimentally obtained values agreed with those predicted, thus indicating the suitability of the model employed and the success of response surface methodology in optimizing the extraction conditions. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: extraction; optimization; tobacco; tobacco waste; volatile organic compounds.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Chemical Fractionation / instrumentation
  • Chemical Fractionation / methods*
  • Dust / analysis*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Tobacco / chemistry*
  • Ultrasonics
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / chemistry*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / isolation & purification*
  • Waste Products / analysis*


  • Dust
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Waste Products