Different yellowing degrees and the industrial utilization of flue-cured tobacco leaves

<div><p>ABSTRACT: Yellowing is a key stage in the curing of flue-cured tobacco (Nicotiana tobacum L.) as much of the chemical transformation occurs during this period. This study examined the effect of different yellowing degrees on the value of flue-cured tobacco leaves at the farm level for both processing and manufacturing. The study was conducted in the counties of Chuxiong, Dali, and Yuxi in Yunnan, China over two years. Yellowing treatments have been designed to have either a mild or a regular yellowing degree. Yield, value, appearance, suction property, smoking characteristics, and physical resistance to further processing were investigated to evaluate the effect of degree of yellowing on the industrial utilization of flue-cured tobacco leaves. The regular yellowing degree enhanced yield, value, and appearance compared to the mild yellowing degree, regardless of cultivar or location; however, physical resistance to further processing and the suction property of the mild yellowing degree treatment were better than with the regular yellowing degree regardless of cultivar or location. Furthermore, although the regular yellowing degree recorded higher smoking characteristic scores than the mild yellowing degree immediately after flue-curing, the scores of mild yellowing degree leaves could be further augmented by increasing intensity in the re-drying stage. The smoking characteristic score in the regular yellowing degree can only be increased by low intensity re-drying, and significantly decreased by mild and high intensity re-drying. Therefore, in terms of industrial utilization, mild yellowing is the better choice for flue-curing tobacco. This study also suggested that the current regular yellowing stage in Yunnan should be shortened to meet the demands of the traditional tobacco industry.</p></div>