While some plants are actually able to take up nicotine from cigarette smoke, others that grow in contaminated soil absorb it via roots as well."This might explain why high concentrations of nicotine are often found in spices, herbal teas and medicinal plants, despite the fact that nicotine is no longer permitted in insecticides," explained Dirk Selmar from the Technical University of Braunschweig,

"Tremendously elevated nicotine levels were detected after fumigation with cigarette smoke," Selmar noted.He also found that peppermint plants can actually take up high concentrations of nicotine from contaminated soils.This followed the analysis of plants mulched with cigarette tobacco for more than nine days.The resulting nicotine concentrations were several times higher than the maximum residue level set by the European authorities.

The team found a drastic decrease in nicotine concentration as time progressed.This is likely because the nicotine is taken up by the roots of the peppermint plants and processed in their leaves.

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