Journal of chromatography. B, Analytical technologies in the biomedical and life sciences

Enantiomeric analysis of anatabine, nornicotine and anabasine in commercial tobacco by multi-dimensional gas chromatography and mass spectrometry.

PMID 18342587


A fully automated multi-dimensional gas chromatography (MDGC) system with a megabore precolumn and cyclodextrin-based analytical column was developed to analyze the enantiomeric compositions of anatabine, nornicotine and anabasine in commercial tobacco. The enantiomer abundances of anatabine and nornicotine varied among different tobacco. S-(-)-anatabine, as a proportion of total anatabine, was 86.6% for flue-cured, 86.0% for burley and 77.5% for oriental tobacco. S-(-)-nornicotine, as a proportion of total nornicotine, was 90.8% in oriental tobacco and higher than in burley (69.4%) and flue-cured (58.7%) tobacco. S-(-)-anabasine, as a proportion of total anabasine, was relatively constant for flue-cured (60.1%), burley (65.1%) and oriental (61.7%) tobacco. A simple solvent extraction with dichloromethane followed by derivatisation with trifluoroacetic anhydride gave relative standard deviations of less than 1.5% for the determination of the S-(-)-isomers of all three alkaloids. The study also indicated that, a higher proportion of S-(-)-nornicotine is related to the more active nicotine demethylation in the leaf.