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South African Journal of Chemistry

On-line version ISSN 1996-840X
Print version ISSN 0379-4350


ALHAZMI, Hassan A. et al. Determination of Phytocomponents of Twenty-one Varieties of Smokeless Tobacco using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy (GC-MS). S.Afr.j.chem. (Online) [online]. 2019, vol.72, pp.47-54. ISSN 1996-840X.

Smokeless tobacco (ST) leaves are being consumed by millions in Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen, where the locally manufactured form is called shammah. We intended to explore and compare the phytocomponents of 21 different varieties of shammah that are commonly available in different cities of Jazan province of Saudi Arabia using gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS). A total of 61 different constituents were tentatively identified in these samples including both hazardous and non-hazardous compounds. Solvents of different polarity, such as petroleum ether, chloroform, ethanol and water were used to prepare the extracts. Interestingly, a number of new and unusual constituents were identified in some samples. N-methoxycarbonyl-amphetamine was detected as 6.76 %, 4.88 % and 2.58 % of total compounds in Khadrah, Arishi and Sudani shammah samples, respectively. Similarly, the presence of caffeine (0.44-1.41 %) in Adani cold from Jazan city and Abu Arish and Adani hot shammah from Abu Arish suggested the possibility of adulteration. Extremely hazardous arsenic and benzopyran derivatives were present in Sudani shammah from Sabya in small but significant amounts. Furthermore, carcinogenic components were also detected in significant amounts which indicate a relation between ST amounts used and different types of cancer, especially oral cancer. Chemometric hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) revealed the existence of sufficient differences between samples from different extracts based on the polarity and dendrograms.

Keywords : Smokeless tobacco; shammah; GC-MS; phytocomponents; hierarchical cluster analysis; toxic components; carcinogenic components.

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