Post-Harvest Tobacco Processing. Drying and Fermentation

Tobacco leaves removed from the field are unsuitable for processing into smoking products by themselves, since they lack the necessary technological properties.  Before the collected from the field tobacco is turned into a suitable raw material for manufacturing smoking products, its leaves must undergo a series of post-harvest processes consisting of the main sequential technological processes, first of all drying and fermentation.

The main purpose of this treatment is not only to preserve the quality indicators of the raw materials formed during growth and development of tobacco plants on-field, but also to enhance them by strengthening useful features and eliminating negative ones. Thanks to the competent application of technological post-harvest methods, it is possible to significantly improve the quality of tobacco leaves; conversely, a thoughtless, unprofessional approach in this matter could even destroy them completely.

Drying is the most important stage of the post-harvest processing of tobacco. Drying provides some qualities to the raw material: Color and partly taste and aroma are determined; resistance to mold increases.

Our Company uses heat drying processing of tobacco; this excludes direct contact of fuel combustion products with raw materials, which are produced in special isolated rooms. At the same time, the temperature is increased using hot air. This method perfectly preserves the color of tobacco leaves and various types of sugars, reduces the amount of tar and nicotine, as well as the acidity of the product.

After drying, the tobacco leaf undergoes fermentation – this is the main mystery and the key technological process, during which the raw material acquires unique smoking properties.

Fermentation is a chemical reaction through which, under the influence of humidity and temperature, organic substances are transformed into inorganic ones, forming new compounds. Fermentation of tobacco begins with a lack of fresh air, that is, the leaves are suffocated in their own fumes, humidity and temperature increase.

The fermentation process is the final stage in the post-harvest processing of tobacco. The nicotine and resins content decreases, new aromatic and flavoring compounds are formed, taste becomes softer, and aroma is enhanced. Fermented tobacco is suitable for long-term storage, and it can be used for making smokable products.