The impending curtailment of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) use in its traditional smoking form demands that economies previously dependent on tobacco as a cash crop find alternative sources of income. Alternatively, to enable the continued use of existing infrastructure and experience by growers, these economies could continue to grow the crop for other uses. The objective of this trial was, therefore, to explore alternative uses of tobacco, namely as a source of tobacco seed oil (TSO). Laboratory trials were conducted to optimize for TSO extraction, and to quantify and qualify the oil content of tobacco seed varieties from the Tobacco Research Board’s tobacco germplasm collection. The quality of the extracted oil was assessed for acid, iodine and saponification values, free fatty acid content and specific gravity. The solvent extraction method, optimized for the local conditions was used for the extraction process. Results showed that the tested tobacco varieties contained 29-40% oil. Average values of density of 0.8937 g/mL, viscocity of 126.6 centipoise at 24.6°C, saponification value of 206.36 mg KOH/g oil, acid value 2.76 mg KOH/ g oil and iodine # of 145.75gI2 were observed.
Key words: Parentals, hybrids, tobacco seed oil, fatty acids.
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