Tobacco

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Genetically Modified Tobacco

December 7, 2004

Talk about niche markets! Four years ago Vincent sold a Model VP-6 screw press to Biosource Technology of Kentucky for pressing genetically modified tobacco. Next we supplied our lab angle shredder and a press to Planet Biotechnology in California for the same purpose. More recently, our good customer Sigma Aldrich arranged a rental press for Chlorogen. Chlorogen is their Missouri JV partner, who used the press for extracting juice from transgenic tobacco.

These firms use bioreactor technology to extract a specific molecule. This molecule is key in the development of medicines for the healing of the common cold, tooth cavities, recovery from heart surgery, and Parkinson's Disease. These are not boutique drugs!

Tobacco has been selected because it can be grown in large quantities. This allows large-scale production without the high costs of producing the same molecule in a laboratory environment.

We asked about nicotine. They are not interested in it. It is a small molecule that can be filtered out.

Firms that process ordinary alfalfa with our equipment centrifuge the press liquor. The green curd produced by the decanter is of high value, while the brown liquor that is separated is of little use. With transgenic tobacco, the opposite is true: the value is in the brown liquor.

Recently Vincent took on a project involving the stems of the tobacco plant. We were told we could not test with stems from the GM greenhouses because of controls on GM material. Instead, we are to use stems from wild tobacco. That is the one God makes.

Vincent equipment has been used with other genetically modified crops. Medicago, a long-term Quebec client, uses a Vincent press on GM alfalfa. Also, Monsanto used our screw press in work with transgenic soybeans.

Issue 155

 

Pharmaceutical Tobacco

PHARMACEUTICAL TOBACCO  - USERS LISTING

 

COLLPLANT, ISRAEL
2008 FORWARD (COLLAGEN)
      CP-4 and CP-6 SCREW PRESSES
      VAS-8 and VCS-18 SHREDDERS

SIGMA-ALDRICH, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
1996 FORWARD, VARIOUS RENTALS AND PURCHASES
      CP-4, CP-6 AND CP-10 SCREW PRESSES
      TSP-6 TWIN SCREW PRESS
       FF-6 FIBER FILTER
      VCS-8 SHREDDER

KENTUCKY BIOPROCESSING, OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
FORMERLY BIOSOURCE TECHNOLOGY, LARGE SCALE TECHNOLOGY
1997 TO DATE
      VP-6 SCREW PRESS
      CP-4 LABORATORY PRESS

PLANET BIOTECHNOLOGY, HAYWARD, CALIFORNIA
1998 TO DATE
      CP-4 SCREW PRESS
      VAS-8 SHREDDER

MEDICAGO, QUEBEC, CANADA
2006 TO DATE
      CP-6 SCREW PRESS
      GREEN POWER JUICER

FRAUNHOFER, NEWARK, DELAWARE
2008 TO DATE
      KP-10 SCREW PRESS

CHLOROGEN, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
2004 TESTING
      CP-4 SCREW PRESS


 

November, 2011

Tobacco Paper Mills

October 23, 2006

It is not commonly known that large cigarette factories include a paper mill. These paper mills produce a coarse paper that is shredded and added to the natural tobacco used in producing cigarettes.

It is obvious that the thick veins (referred to as stems) in tobacco leaves would do poorly in a cigarette. That is, they would tend both to puncture the fine wrapper paper used to wrap the cigarette, as well as to produce uneven burning. Consequently, stems are not used in the cigarettes.

These tobacco stems (not to be confused with the same large stems on which the leaves grow) contain the same organic properties as the rest of the leaves. Tobacco is a high value agricultural product, so it is unreasonable to think of simply discarding the stems. Instead, they are processed into a material that can be blended with the normal cigarette tobacco.

The process used is based on extracting all of the soluble material from the stems. These flavor solids are concentrated into a syrup. At the same time, the bland fiber that remains after solubles extraction is pulped into fibers of the right size for making paper. This pulp is screened with normal paper mill machinery, and made into a wide sheet of brownish paper, using a normal paper making machine.

A key step in the process is to add the tobacco syrup back into the pulp ahead of the paper drying operation. The resulting brownish paper has the same characteristics as regular cigarette tobacco, so it is shredded to the same size and blended with the tobacco used to make cigarettes.

Screw presses are used in the process of extracting the solubles from the stems. Separating the flavors, oils and other dissolved solids requires a counter-wash system. Water is added to the dry stems in order to dissolve (diffuse) out the solubles. Then the pulpy mass is dewatered in a screw press. The press liquor goes to the syrup evaporator, while the press cake is re-hydrated. Once diffusion is achieved, the mass is pressed once again. This step is repeated from three to five times, depending on the installation.

A variety of testing has confirmed that the Vincent screw presses used in paper mills are very well suited for this application. The interrupted flight screw design used by Vincent has proven advantageous.

Issue 179