Category: Bean castor plant toxin

Bean castor plant toxin

The castor bean plant, Ricinus communiscontains two toxins that are poisonous to people, animals, and insects. The main toxic protein, ricin, is so potent that a single milligram may be sufficient to kill a human adult. Ricin is considered both a chemical and biological weapon and is explicitly prohibited by the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and Schedule 1 of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Ricin works its harm by destroying small parts of cells, called ribosomes. Ribosomes produce all of the proteins needed by a cell.

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If the proteins cannot be produced, the cell dies. Although the effects of ricin ingestion may be felt within a few hours abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomitingit is a slow-acting poison, with death occurring after one to three days. A victim who survives the severe dehydration and lowered blood pressure of advanced ricin poisoning will generally recover. The other toxic protein in the castor bean, RCA Ricinus communis agglutininagglutinates red blood cells.

What is ricin? Illegal and 'very toxic' poison sent to Trump has no antidote

In other words, injection of RCA into the bloodstream essentially causes a person's blood to coagulate. Ingestion of a castor bean or its products will release ricin, but the RCA cannot cross the intestinal wall.

Castor oil and products made from castor oil contain very little ricin or RCA. However, castor beans are grown for ornamental purposes, too.

The seeds from the garden plant present a poisoning hazard to children and pets. Dehydration and vomiting are more dangerous for children than adults, so ingestion of a single castor bean seed may be fatal for a child. However, if the seed is ingested whole, there is a chance that it may pass through the gastrointestinal system without releasing its ricin.

Purified ricin and RCA are of considerable concern as weapons for several reasons. First, castor bean seeds are readily obtainable. Second, several routes of exposure are possible; for ricin that includes inhalation, injection, or ingestion.

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Once the proteins are purified, the powdered toxin can be used to contaminate food or beverages. Ricin is heat-stable, so it can be applied to shrapnel within an explosive device.

Possibly the greatest concern about ricin used as a weapon is that symptoms of poisoning can readily misdiagnosed. At present, therapy for ricin poisoning consists of replacing fluids and treating the symptoms of poisoning, but research is underway to develop a vaccine for the toxin. Also, testing is underway for a new drug, using an inactivated form of the ricin protein, to treat individuals following exposure.

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Share Flipboard Email. Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph. Chemistry Expert. Helmenstine holds a Ph. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels.

Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter. Updated March 26, Cite this Article Format. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph. Ricin and RCA.Ricinus communisthe castor bean [1] or castor oil plant[2] is a species of perennial flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. It is the sole species in the monotypic genusRicinusand subtribeRicininae. The evolution of castor and its relation to other species are currently being studied using modern genetic tools. Its seed is the castor bean, which, despite its name, is not a bean.

Castor is indigenous to the southeastern Mediterranean BasinEastern Africaand India, but is widespread throughout tropical regions and widely grown elsewhere as an ornamental plant. Castor seed is the source of castor oilwhich has a wide variety of uses. The seed also contains ricina water-soluble toxinwhich is also present in lower concentrations throughout the plant. An unrelated plant species of similar appearance, Fatsia japonica false castor oil plantgrows in Japan.

The name Ricinus is a Latin word for tick ; the seed is so named because it has markings and a bump at the end that resemble certain ticks. The genus Ricinus [6] also exists in zoology, and designates insects not ticks which are parasites of birds; this is possible because the names of animals and plants are governed by different nomenclature codes. The common name "castor oil" probably comes from its use as a replacement for castoreuma perfume base made from the dried perineal glands of the beaver castor in Latin.

Ricinus communis can vary greatly in its growth habit and appearance. The variability has been increased by breeders who have selected a range of cultivars for leaf and flower colours, and for oil production. In some varieties they start off dark reddish purple or bronze when young, gradually changing to a dark green, sometimes with a reddish tinge, as they mature. The leaves of some other varieties are green practically from the start, whereas in yet others a pigment masks the green color of all the chlorophyll -bearing parts, leaves, stems and young fruit, so that they remain a dramatic purple-to-reddish-brown throughout the life of the plant.

Plants with the dark leaves can be found growing next to those with green leaves, so there is most likely only a single gene controlling the production of the pigment in some varieties.

The fruit capsules of some varieties are more showy than the flowers. The flowers lack petals and are unisexual male and female where both types are borne on the same plant monoecious in terminal panicle -like inflorescences of green or, in some varieties, shades of red. The male flowers are numerous, yellowish-green with prominent creamy stamens ; the female flowers, borne at the tips of the spikes, lie within the immature spiny capsules, are relatively few in number and have prominent red stigmas.

The fruit is a spiny, greenish to reddish-purple capsule containing large, oval, shiny, bean-like, highly poisonous seeds with variable brownish mottling.

Castor seeds have a warty appendage called the carunclewhich is a type of elaiosome. The caruncle promotes the dispersal of the seed by ants myrmecochory.

An alcoholic extract of the leaf was shown, in lab rats, to protect the liver from damage from certain poisons. The pericarp of Ricinus showed central nervous system effects in mice at low doses.

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At high doses mice quickly died. Extract of Ricinus communis exhibited acaricidal and insecticidal activities against the adult of Haemaphysalis bispinosa Neumann Acarina : Ixodidae and hematophagous fly Hippobosca maculata Leach Diptera : Hippoboscidae. Members of the Bodo tribe of Bodoland in Assam, India, use the leaves of the plant to feed the larvae of muga and endi silkworms.

Castor oil is an effective motor lubricant and has been used in internal combustion enginesincluding those of World War I airplanes, some racing cars and some model airplanes.

It has historically been popular for lubricating two-stroke engines due to high resistance to heat compared to petroleum-based oils. It does not mix well with petroleum products, particularly at low temperatures, but mixes better with the methanol-based fuels used in glow model engines. In total-loss-lubrication applications, it tends to leave carbon deposits and varnish within the engine.

It has been largely replaced by synthetic oils that are more stable and less toxic.

bean castor plant toxin

Jewellery can be made of castor beans, particularly necklaces and bracelets. Although Ricinus communis is indigenous to the southeastern Mediterranean BasinEastern Africaand India, today it is widespread throughout tropical regions. It is also used extensively as a decorative plant in parks and other public areas, particularly as a "dot plant" in traditional bedding schemes.

In areas prone to frost it is usually shorter, and grown as if it were an annual. Selections have been made by breeders for use as ornamental plants heights refer to plants grown as annuals and for commercial production of castor oil. Ricinus communis is the host plant of the common castor butterfly Ariadne merionethe eri silkmoth Samia cynthia riciniand the castor semi-looper moth Achaea janata.

How to Grow and Care for Castor Bean Plants

It is also used as a food plant by the larvae of some other species of Lepidopteraincluding Hypercompe hambletoni and the nutmeg Discestra trifolii. A jumping spider Evarcha culicivora has an association with R.By on. Someone in the audience commented that you can actually eat several castor beans and you would only get a mild stomach ache.

The caster bean plant, Ricinus communisis a native of tropical Africa and is grown in many gardens in North America for its fabulous large leaves. Here in zone 5 it is an annual that can grow to 5 feet in one season. The caster bean plant itself is not poisonous to humans, but the seeds are. The seeds contain a protein called ricin and there is no question that ricin is very poisonous to humans, animals and even insects.

Several lists of the poisonous chemicals exist on the internet and ricin is in the top ten list most of the time. Its position on any given list depends on how the list is defined. Does the list look at all chemicals or just naturally occurring ones? Is it looking at the caster bean or pure ricin? The details are not important; but the conclusion is clear — ricin is one of the most deadly naturally occurring chemicals. It is also more deadly than most man-made chemicals.

It is reported that as few as 5 beans is enough to kill an adult human. Fewer beans will kill a child. The skin of the bean is quite firm and thick. If you swallow the castor bean whole, it will travel through your system intact. No ricin will enter your body. To release the ricin into your system you must chew the beans before swallowing them. The actual bean is probably not a good weapon, but poisoning by ricin has been documented. For some interesting reading have a look at the death of Georgi Ivanov Markov — sounds like it would make a good movie.

I think the source mentioned Indonesia. I have been fencing my pasture to put my horse in and noticed several of these plants with all the beans on them.

Castor Bean Plant

I worry that my horse once she is using the pasture will eat them. I now plan on destroying these plants for safety. Thank you for this information.

bean castor plant toxin

Well when I was kid, we used to farm caster seeds for oil. We use the oil as a hair conditioner and my father still buys it. You may have built up an immunity to ricin and are now a valuable asset as a spy, being immune to ricin poisoning. Probably not, but a good plot twist for a movie. We have this plants that my husband planted it together with her vegetables in the garden.

It took me long to research it until finally found this site. Somebody gave the seed to my husband long time ago. And it is just this season when he found the seeds planted it together with the rest of his bean plants. I have 2 grand kids that very inquisitive. I am very glad and thankful of this information about this bean. Thank you. Press here to subscribe.

bean castor plant toxin

Garden Myths - Learn the truth about gardening.Castor oil is a useful and versatile oil that comes from the castor oil plant. The castor oil plant produces castor beans, which is where the oil cis taken from. Castor oil has a multitude of uses, in both the health and industrial sectors.

Castor beans, however, also contain a potent toxin known as ricin, which is present in low concentrations. The castor oil plant is a species of flowering plant that can reach up to 39 feet, the size of a small tree, when growing in open spaces and warm climates.

However, every castor oil plant varies greatly in its appearance and growth habits. The plant is generally fast growing, but the castor beans are cold hardy, meaning they require a long frost-free season in order to mature.

This is why why the castor oil plant thrives in the southeastern Mediterranean Basin, Eastern Africa, India, and other dry and tropical regions. The castor oil plant has large leaves that are centimeters long.

They are long-stalked, and palmate with deep toothed lobes. These leaves are glossy and often appear red or bronze-tinted when young. As the plant grows older, the leaves gradually change color to dark green. Sometimes, they assume a reddish tinge when mature. Even the stems vary in pigmentation. The flowers appear in clusters at the end of the main stem in late summer.

The flowers are usually green or red in color, depending on the variety of the plant. They have no petals. Male flowers often appear yellowish-green with prominent creamy stamens. They appear in ovoid spikes up to 15 centimeters long. Female flowers appear on the tips of the spikes and can be distinguished by their prominent red stigma. Castor plant fruits appear as oblong, spiny pods, which contains an average of three seeds. Their color ranges from green to reddish purple.

The seeds contained within the fruit are oval and light brown, sometimes appearing mottled or streaked with light and dark brown shades. The pod resembles a pinto bean.

bean castor plant toxin

Greek historian Herodotus first documented the castor oil plant in 4th century B. By this point, the plant had already been introduced to Greece, where it is cultivated up to the present day under the same name. Later on, both Theophrastus and Dioscorides described the castor oil plantand Dioscorides even gave an account of the process of extracting the oil from the plant.

He emphasized that the seeds should be used externally as they were extremely purgative. During the early Middle Ages, the castor oil plant became popular in Europe for its medicinal qualities, particularly in the treatment of various skin diseases. Albertus Magnusthe bishop of Ratisbon, recorded and cultivated the plant in the middle 13 th century, but the plant later fell out of favour and became less popular.

Today, the castor oil extracted from the plant is known not just for beautifying the skin but also for its various medicinal benefitswhich include the following:. The castor oil plant is not only used for medicine, but is also widely used in the industrial sector. Here are some of its industrial uses:. While the castor oil plant certainly has many benefits, it also has a deadly component: the ricin toxin, found in raw castor beans. In fact, ricin is one of the most poisonous naturally occurring substances known to mankind.

It is poisonous not just to humans but also to various animal species. Ingesting four to eight castor beans is said to be lethal to adults, but reports of castor bean poisoning are relatively rare.

Symptoms of ricin poisoning include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate and seizures.Some plants, while they have roles to play in your landscaping, are hardly conversation pieces. Castor bean plants, on the other hand, have star power. Let's consider the three T's: tall, toxic, and tropical.

It is because castor beans possess these three qualities and more that they are such interesting plants. Castor Bean Plants are grown during the summer in a Northern landscape. These fast-growers will typically reach a height of 6 to 10 feet occasionally becoming as tall as 15 feet when started early in a greenhouse and provided with ideal conditions. But its height is just one attribute that makes castor bean stand out in your landscape. Even the green-leaved types attract attention because the leaves are star-shaped.

As you can also see from our photo, the stalk can be a bright red color. When these pods dry, they explode, turning the seeds that had been trapped within into projectiles.

Even the seeds, themselves are attractive, sporting an endless number of color patterns. Unfortunately, the literature on the subject can't seem to decide whether the plant was named after the tick or vice versa.

If you've followed the news much at all in this crazy 21st century in which we live, you probably remember encountering at some point a report that went something like this: "Ricin-Laced Letter Sent to U.

Does the danger posed by castor bean plants frighten you? The first step in good plant care is selecting an ideal location for your specimen and improving the soil if needed in that spot. Grow castor beans in an area with full sun and good drainage. Keep the soil adequately watered all summer. But did you have any idea that it is an ingredient in Castrol motor oil, a product that owes its very name to castor oil?

That's just one of many benefits from this plant that most people would find surprising. Castor beans are not true beans; that's just a nickname. How warm? Read More.Some manifestations of toxicity are subtle. The dose, as always, determines if a plant is safe source of nutrients or a toxic hazard. The seeds from the castor bean plant, Ricinus communisare poisonous to people, animals and insects.

One of the main toxic proteins is "ricin", named by Stillmark in when he tested the beans' extract on red blood cells and saw them agglutinate. Now we know that the agglutination was due to another toxin that was also present, called RCA Ricinus communis agglutinin. Ricin is a potent cytotoxin but a weak hemagglutinin, whereas RCA is a weak cytotoxin and a powerful hemagglutinin.

Poisoning by ingestion of the castor bean is due to ricinnot RCA, because RCA does not penetrate the intestinal wall, and does not affect red blood cells unless given intravenously. If RCA is injected into the blood, it will cause the red blood cells to agglutinate and burst by hemolysis. Perhaps just one milligram of ricin can kill an adult. The symptoms of human poisoning begin within a few hours of ingestion.

If death has not occurred in days, the victim usually recovers. It is advisable to keep children away from the castor bean plant or necklaces made with its seeds. If they ingest the leaves or swallow the seeds, they may get poisoned. The highly toxic seeds beaded into necklaces, cause skin irritation at the contact point. If the seed is swallowed without chewing, and there is no damage to the seed coat, it will most likely pass harmlessly through the digestive tract.

However, if it is chewed or broken and then swallowed, the ricin toxin will be absorbed by the intestines.

Ricinus communis poisoning - Plant poisons - UGC NET UGC NET forensic science - Forensic notes

It is said that just one seed can kill a child. Children are more sensitive than adults to fluid loss due to vomiting and diarrhea, and can quickly become severely dehydrated and die. The castor bean plant, Ricinus communisis a "native of tropical Africa cultivated in several varieties for the oil found in its leaves and for its bold foliage. The "stalked leaves consist of usually eight radiating, pointed leaflets with slightly serrated edges and prominent central veins. Many varieties are green, but some are reddish brown.

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Many stamens are near the base and branching pistils are near the top of the flower. The soft-spined fruits containing attractively mottled seeds are distinctive features of the plant.

It is grown as an ornamental in gardens, sometimes as a houseplant, and also grows as a weed. It is an annual in the south and a perennial in the tropics, and it may reach "15 feet tall outdoors".

It is a woody herb belonging to the family of Euphorbiacea Spurge.

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