Extraction of Nicotine from Tobacco (Oxalic acid complex purification)

To a 2 L distillation apparatus 800 mL of 6% sodium hydroxide solution and 100g of cured tobacco or 100g  of fresh tobacco leaves, stems and roots are added. When about 700 mL of distillate is collected some oxalic acid is added to the solution until the solution turns congo red. The solution is evaporated down until syrupy mass forms. Some ethanol is added to the syrup and the syrup is left to crystallize in a freezer. The mixture is filtered and washed with some cold ethanol. The crude nicotine oxalate is transferred to a beaker and subsequent amount of 25% sodium hydroxide solution is added until only two layers form. The oily nicotine is extracted with 3 x 25 mL of diethyl ether. Thereafter the diethyl ether is poured into a rotary evaporator and the diethyl ether is saved for later use. The oily nicotine is then dissolved in 50 mL of ethanol and put to a freezer for recrystallization. The mass is filtered and the nicotine is stored in a tight amber container.

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