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Whole Leaf Tobacco

Botulism possible?

Planter

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#1
Since Perique is processed in an anaerobic environment, is there a potential risk of developing Clostridium botulinum bacteria?

In Sauerkraut preparation, the addition of salt and the fast built-up of high acidity are an effective protection, it seems.

Are there similar factors at work in Perique fermentation? Would nicotine in the press juices play a role? When I re-arrange the leaves after a while the stuff seems to be acidic, did anybody check the pH of the liquid by any chance?

Unfortunately there´s not much information about the microbiology of Perique-making available, so any insights and thoughts are welcome.
 

Texasgrown

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#3
Just FYI botulism isn't that bad...We have the bt bacteria native to our locations in the soil all the time. It's when you get a version that you are not familiar with that can mess with you or one of the few nasty ones. I wouldn't be concerned about bt.
 

deluxestogie

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#4
This is a complex subject. Excuse me for generalizing. "Botulism" refers to exposure to the potent neurotoxin "botulinum"--a protein--produced by Clostridium botulinum (and closely related species of Clostridium). They are common soil and water microbes. It is a distinct cause of fatal food poisoning that results from improper processing and storage of foods in which C. botulinum is capable of growing. It can also occur in wounds, and in infants fed diluted honey.

Univ of Florida IFAS Extension said:
...the death rate from botulism is relatively high, 17.3 percent...

[the spores] can become activated in anaerobic environments, low acidity (pH greater than 4.6), high moisture content, and in temperatures ranging from 3°C to 43°C (38°F to 110°F).

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fs104
Other species of Clostridium can cause other illnesses not related to the botulinum neurotoxin.

As for Perique tobacco, botulinum neurotoxin, if present, would be expected to denature (become non-functional) by drying (dessication). http://www.nrt.org/production/nrt/n...otulinumToxin/$File/120216_BoNT_QRG_Final.pdf

Given that all tobacco is, by its nature, contaminated with garden soil, and can be assumed to be contaminated with soil organisms, the question raised by this thread is a good one.

Though much less acidic than flue-cured tobaccos, Perique is nonetheless not actually alkaline (pH > 7.0). I believe that Perique is generally safe, though I would be reluctant to suck on a damp Perique leaf, fresh from the fermentation.

Bob
 

Texasgrown

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#5
Lol Delux if I wasn't so tired I would have written something similar...maybe not as articulate but at least the message was consistent. You sound like a true scientist.

Most people who fall ill of Clostridium B are usually immunologically impaired like infants (immune system isn't fully developed) or those with other types of disease. This is done by the spores developing in the intestine and releasing the toxin or through an infected wound. Albeit the disease can be fatal the CDC reports only 145 cases each year and ~15% are from food 65% are infant. So this puts your odds in line with lightning strikes or shark bites.

On a side note, the food industry has gone through great lengths to ensure we do not contract the clostridium from contaminated food and in my eyes have over regulated with some nasty preservatives.

Most of us develop a specific tolerance to the local types to found locally in our soils. Most people who become ill that are not impaired in some manner either ingest a variety of this bacteria that is uniquely different or one of the more toxic types that produces excess bt. Good hygienic technique when handling any food product or manufacturing any food product can help reduce contamination. Also cooking food specifically root vegetables like carrots and garlic or chilling them and avoiding home canned low acid foods like beans and corn.

But I defer back to Delux don't eat soggy leaves and wash your hands and you will be fine...
 

oldbear

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#6
The point of making perique is to produce a slightly alkaline tobacco with a lot of protinated nicotine which is the potent stuff. Most of my tests (on the smoke) shows a pH of 7 to 8.

Oldbear
 

Knucklehead

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#7
The point of making perique is to produce a slightly alkaline tobacco with a lot of protinated nicotine which is the potent stuff. Most of my tests (on the smoke) shows a pH of 7 to 8.

Oldbear
How do you test pH of the smoke?
 

oldbear

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#9
I used a very small water pipe and tested a variety of tobaccos for a specific time (usually 2 minutes) and used pH paper to test.

Oldbear
 
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