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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 72 No. 5, p. 773-776
    Received: Jan 16, 1979

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Close-Grown Tobacco: Agronomic Characteristics, Total Alkaloid, and Sugar Content1

  1. C. R. Campbell,
  2. J. F. Chaplin,
  3. W. H. Johnson and
  4. G. S. Miner2



The development of synthetic smoking materials has prompted researchers to consider non-conventional production methods as a means of producing a low cost, flue-cured tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) material which might be used in the manufacture of cigarettes. In order to evaluate yield potential, chemical content, and physical characteristics of close-grown tobacco, plants were grown in the field at populations of 45,448, 90,896, and 136,344/ha with different planting designs (twin or equidistant), nitrogen levels (84, 168, 252, and 336 kg/ha), and topping regimes (topping or no topping). The soil was a Durham loamy sand (fine loamy, siliceous, thermic, Typic Hapudult). The entire plant was flue-cured and separated into lamina, midrib, and stalk for yield and chemical analysis. A wide range of yield, chemical content, and physical characteristics of the harvested material was produced by manipulating various cultural practices. Topped plants averaged 26% lamina, 12% midrib, and 62% stalk as compared to 19% lamina, 10% midrib, 54% stalk, and 17% top material for plants not topped. Yields increased progressively with N-rate through 252 kg/ha and/or increased plant population. Twin or equidistant row spacing had no effect on yield. Topping decreased whole-plant yield but increased the concentration of alkaloids and reducing sugars and the lamina: stalk ratio. Total alkaloids ranged from 0.18% for wholeplant nontopped tobacco receiving 84 kg N/ha to 0.84% for topped plants receiving 336 kg N/ha. Total reducing sugars averaged 8.0 for nontopped and 9.6% for topped plants.

Results indicate that high yields can be obtained by utilizing the close-grown production system and harvesting the entire plant. Desirable chemical content and physical characteristics of close-grown tobacco might be obtained by manipulating cultural practices.

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