Development of castor (Ricinus communis) var. brigham with ultra low ricin content by analyzing soluble seed proteins



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Castor (Ricinus communis L.) is one of the oldest cultivated oil crops in the world. The unique oil produced in castor seeds contains ricinoleic acid, an essential specialty product that is widely used as a raw material in numerous commercial applications. In addition, the pressed cake of oil extraction is a value added by-product of animal feed and organic fertilizer industries. Also, castor seeds contain storage proteins that include ricin, a potent cytotoxin found only in the endosperm of the seed. Following oil extraction, ricin remains in the pressed cake which constitutes up to 5% of the dry matter. Ricin has been categorized as a potential bioterrorism agent by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hence, the presence of residual toxin in the byproduct hinders its usage as an animal feed and organic fertilizer in commercial applications. The purpose of this study was to identify castor var. Brigham seeds with low ricin content in each seed. This goal was accomplished by partial seed analysis and by image processing of an identified band that was recognized as ricin. Advance biotechnological strategies and tools utilized in this study, incorporated into castor breeding programs, may play a pivotal role in the development of castor var. Brigham with ultra low ricin content. Low ricin castor cultivars would eliminate the cost and time needed in ricin detoxification of pressed cake therefore, contributing to change human perception of the toxicity of castor and providing a global prospective to cultivate castor as an agronomically important crop.