Submitted to: Wild Crop Relatives: Genomic and Breeding Resources
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 11, 2010
Publication Date: April 28, 2011
Citation: Morris, J.B., Wang, M.L., Morse, S.A. 2011. Ricinus. Wild Crop Relatives: Genomic and Breeding Resources. 3:251-260. Interpretive Summary: Castor bean is used in laxatives, shampoo, hand lotion, hair conditioner, and as a lubricant. Several chemicals are found in castor bean with potential to lower blood pressure and fight cancer. Many varieties have been developed from castorbean including those with high yield. The U.S. collection consists of about 1,043 castor bean accessions. However, more than 5,000 are conserved worldwide. Breeding castor beans for elevated healthy chemicals and oil will likely be attained. Castor bean is a devoted biodiesel energy crop and soon will be used for biodiesel production in the United States and Brazil.
Technical Abstract: Castor (Ricinus communis L.) could become one of the premier crops for health enhancing phytochemicals. Immunotoxins derived from castor bean constituents have proven effective in targeting tumor cells without harming normal cells in humans. In addition, castor bean is currently undergoing intense reserach in its development as a biodiesel crop in the United States. Since castor bean is not a food crop and can be grown in many landscapes, this crop can provide healthy products as well as biodiesel. Tissue culture and genetic transforamation will assist in the breeding of superior germplasm and cultivars for use in the United States and abroad as a phytopharmaceutical and biodiesel crop.