Exclusive Worldwide Patent Portfolio
22nd Century has an extensive intellectual property portfolio of issued patents and patent applications relating to tobacco plants and hemp/cannabis plants.
Engineering the Nicotine Biosynthetic Pathway
Nicotine is produced in the roots of the tobacco plant by the linking of compounds derived from nicotinic acid and putrescine. Nicotine is one of many nicotinic alkaloids in tobacco, but it is the most prevalent, making up 85-95% of the total of nicotinic alkaloids in typical commercial tobacco plants.
Our proprietary technology allows 22nd Century to decrease the biosynthesis of nicotine and other nicotinic alkaloids in tobacco plants through genetic engineering (Kajikawa et al. 2011; Todd et al. 2010). This enables us to regulate nicotine content in tobacco plants without adversely affecting other leaf compounds important to a tobacco plant’s characteristics, including taste and aroma. For example, one of our proprietary tobacco varieties contains the lowest nicotine content of any tobacco ever commercialized, approximately 97% less nicotine than tobacco in leading “light” cigarette brands (Xie et al. 2004; Morton et al. 2008).
Our technology also enables us to regulate the production of other nicotinic alkaloids in tobacco plants to produce tobacco with a wide range of specific desired alkaloid contents and alkaloid profiles (proportions of individual nicotinic alkaloids).