Evaluation of capillary electrophoresis for the analysis of nicotine and selected minor alkaloids from tobacco
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Difficulties encountered in the gas or liquid chromatographic analysis of nicotine and other alkaloids in tobacco are largely due to the ionic character of these compounds. The potential of using capillary electrophoresis (CE) as an alternative analytical tool to eliminate these problems was evaluated. Parameters including electroosmotic flow, ionic forms of the analytes, buffer composition and applied voltage were studied using nicotine as a model compound. Ionic forms and electrophoretic mobility, as well as UV absorbance, of nicotine were controlled by varying the pH of an aqueous buffer solution. Thus the separation was optimized based on the characters of alkaloids and the nature of capillary electrophoresis. For tobacco samples in which nicotine accounts for more than 98% of the total alkaloid content, a quick method for the determination of nicotine in an aqueous tobacco extract within 100 seconds can be achieved.
Key WordsCapillary electrophoresis Tobacco alkaloids Nicotine Aqueous tobacco extract Optimization of separation
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