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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Method to Genetically Modify Castor Plants
See also: US Patent Office Full Record

Pacific West Area
  Albany, California

Patent Number: 6620986
Docket Number: 21699
Serial Number: 9715677
Date Patented: 09/16/2003

Technology Description:


ARS scientists have developed a method to genetically modify castor plants.  The method allows for introducing new genetic material into the castor genome providing a means for genetically engineering castor plants.  This invention may prove useful in developing safer castor plants, which could be used to provide a domestic castor oil source.  The castor plant produces a bean containing castor oil.  As a result of its unique chemistry, castor oil and products derived from it are useful for lubricants, paints and coatings, cosmetics, biodegradable plastics, anti-fungal components–about 300 products in total.  The presence of a naturally occurring toxic protein, called ricin, and a highly allergenic storage protein greatly impede U.S. castor production and processing.  As a result, the United States must import its castor oil, more than 100 million pounds per year.  Using this invention should make it possible to develop castor with greatly reduced toxin and allergen levels, and improve agronomic performance of the castor plant.  Such plants could play a key role in developing the U.S. biobased products industry as the world looks for more eco-friendly products.


The technology could be used by the oilseed processing industry.  Companies that develop and manufacture biobased chemicals and fuels, and those involved in agricultural biotechnology and seed production would be able to use this technology.




Please refer to USPN 6,620,986 (Docket #0216.99), “Transformation of Ricinus Communis, the Castor Plant,” which issued on September 16, 2003, and USPN 7,195,901 (Docket #0120.03), "Diacylglycerol Acyltransferase and Its Use to Preferentially Incorporate Fatty Acid," whih issued on March 27, 2007.  Foreign patent rights are available for USPN 6,620,986, but not for USPN 7,195,901.  These two inventions could be bundled together.




Grace Qianhong Chen

Crop Improvement/Utilization Research

Albany, CA  94710

Phone: (510) 559-5627

    Fax: (510) 559-5818

Xiaohua He

(Same as first inventor)

Phone:  (510) 559-5755
   Fax:  (510) 559-6429

Thomas McKeon

(Same as first inventor)

Phone: (510) 559-5754

    Fax: (510) 559-5818

Jiann Tsyh Lin
(Same as first inventor)
Phone: (510) 559-5754
   Fax: (510) 559-5818


Last Modified: 10/1/2015
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