Tobacco, the demonized plant, has many uses besides the exquisite pleasure of smoking. Our correspondent Silviu Druma sends us translated excerpts from a Romanian article by his friend, biologist Monica Zdremtan, Ph.D.
Tobacco, a fascinating plant, with many social and economical implications, is today one of the most controversial plants.
Due to the controversy surrounding tobacco we want to present a real scientific image without any speculations.
Tobacco – source of useful substances
Tobacco delivers active substances for the pharmaceutical industry.
Tobacco has long been a source of therapeutic substances. Presently the pharmaceutical industry is using many active substances that are extracted from tobacco. These substances are used for treatment of numerous conditions, for example, substances which inhibit cancer cells are extracted from tobacco leaves.
Tobacco as a source of food.
The usage of tobacco as a source of food is a novelty. It is possible to extract, from the tobacco leaves, an important protein that plays a very important role in physiological processes. This protein is very similar to the proteins contained in eggs and in human milk and is superior to the proteins extracted from soy cultures. The protein is found in large quantities in the tobacco leaves. We could extract at least 450 kg/hectare. Another advantage of protein extraction is that tobacco so treated is still suitable for smoking while producing a less acidic smoke. The extracted protein can be used to produce milk substitutes as well as dietary supplements for people with stomach and kidney afflictions due to the absence of sodium and potassium.
Tobacco as a source of pesticide.
It is well known that concentrated nicotinic acid is a very good pesticide. This can be used for plant treatment in greenhouses and in the fields.
Tobacco seeds as a source of oil.
Oil can be extracted from tobacco seed. After extracting the nicotine contained in the oil and refining using existing technologies we can obtain oil that is comparable with the majority of existing oils. The seeds can then be used as food for animals