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The presence of stems in cut tobacco is detrimental to cigarette quality, resulting in problems during production particularly on today's high-speed makers. Incomplete threshing and the use of unthreshed semi-Oriental tobaccos can increase the stem content in the cut tobacco considerably. The percentage of stems present in cut tobacco was investigated by HauniMaschinenbau AG specifically for semi-Oriental tobacco. Their findings show that not all stems present in the strips or lamina after cutting are classified as “objectionable”. However, the percentage of objectionable stems in the cut tobacco is not inconsiderable and depends on the thickness of the stems present. Reducing the objectionable stem contingent in cut tobacco is therefore a crucial concern of many cigarette manufacturers who set great store on ensuring high-quality product. HauniMaschinenbau AG offers a cut tobacco separator which has been specially designed for this purpose and also used as a cooler. A corresponding model is available in the HauniMaschinenbau AG pilot plant in Hamburg for tests using the customers’ own tobacco.
One sample each of aged uncased, cured bright lamina, bright stems, Burley lamina and Burley stems were examined by a variety of general analytical methods and then characterized by our standard fractionation procedure. These tobacco samples were chosen to be reasonably representative of the tobaccos used in current commercial cigarette products. Although for a given variety of tobacco the concentrations of chemical constituents may vary as a function of stalk position, cultural management, geographic origin or crop year, we believe that the following conclusions based on these samples are generally valid:  levels of ethanol solubles, total reducing sugars and starch are much higher in bright than in Burley,  concentrations of soluble ammonia and nitrate are greater in Burley than in bright,  total alkaloid and protein concentrations are higher in lamina than in stems,  cellulose, potassium and chloride concentrations are much greater in stems than in lamina,  concentrations of pectin, lignin and soluble hemicellulose do not vary greatly from one type of tobacco to another,  Burley lamina has greater concentrations of protein and acid detergent solubles than do the other types of tobaccos, and  bright lamina has a much lower level of total ash than do the other types of tobaccos. An examination of some of the components in ash led to the following conclusions:  total ash values are reasonable relative indicators of the level of non-nitrate inorganics,  a good estimate of the total contents of potassium, calcium, chloride, sulfate, phosphorus, silicon and magnesium may be obtained by multiplying the total ash value by 0.612, and  it is likely that most of the potassium and calcium in total ash is actually present as carbonates rather than oxides. The significantly higher levels of both protein and acid detergent solubles found in Burley lamina are thought to indicate that this protein may be unique in terms of its carbohydrate content or in terms of the nature or extent of its cross linkage.
Shredding is a novel process for the utilization of tobacco stems. Stem pieces are forced between large, counter-rotating toothed blades where they are stripped lengthwise into thin, fibrous particles. When compared to the process of rolling and cutting, shredding produces particles having superior bulk filling capacity, cigarette filling index and end stability. The thin, fibrous structure of shredded stem modifies the burn characteristics of the cigarette. Pressure drop and burn rate are reduced, nicotine delivery is enhanced, and, most importantly, carbon monoxide delivery is significantly reduced. These changes provide a significant potential for product improvement. The use of shredded stem has no effect on “tar” delivery. Replacing cut rolled stem with shredded stem has no detectable effect on the chemical composition of the tobacco or on the flavour characteristics of the cigarettes.
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