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The Role of Humectants and Flavor on Microbial Growth in Waterpipe Tobacco

Principal Investigator(s): Anna Marie Adetona
Funding Mechanism: Intra-Departmental Delegation of Authority

ID number: 1R21CA244305-01

Award Date: September 16, 2019

Institution: Battelle Centers/Public Health Research & Evaluation

More information regarding how additives like humectants and flavors alter microorganisms in waterpipe tobacco would be useful. The goal of this study is to assess the impact of humectants (humidifying ingredients) and flavor additives on microbial growth in waterpipe tobacco. Study aims are: (1) to evaluate the effect of flavor and humectant content on microbial growth in waterpipe tobacco; and (2) to assess the relationship between tobacco-specific nitrosamine (TSNA) production and microbial activity in waterpipe tobacco. To address Aim 1, researchers will use an unflavored, low-humectant commercially available waterpipe tobacco as a control and prepare it several different ways to determine the individual and cumulative effects of additives (glycerin, propylene glycol, and vanillin) on microbial growth; flavor and humectants will be added at quantities comparable to those in commercially available waterpipe tobacco. Researchers will quantify microbial composition using whole genome sequencing analysis, and will use shotgun proteomic analysis to characterize proteins expressed by organisms colonizing tobacco. To achieve Aim 2, two TSNAs (Nʹ-nitrosonornicotine [NNN] and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone [NNK]) will be quantified in each tobacco preparation after 1 and 6 months of incubation and compared to levels found in the control. Study findings will provide new information about how humectants and flavors influence toxic exposures associated with waterpipe tobacco. 

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