Submitted to: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2003
Publication Date: 10/1/2004
Citation: Morris, J.B. 2004. Phytochemical traits in the genetic resources of castorbean. Current Topics in Plant Biology. 5:63-67. Interpretive Summary: Castorbean has been used as an industrial and pharmaceutical crop. These uses include motor oil, hair and skin products, and laxative. But, castorbean contains numerous other traits with other uses and the fact that castorbean offers additional value added potential as a source of nutraceuticals and potentially new medicines. Natural products including phytopharmaceuticals from plants is a multi-million dollar industry. Recently, research and development has focused on the production of alternative crops as a source of high-value by-products for industrial, and pharmaceutical use.
Technical Abstract: The castorbean plant contains numerous phytochemicals for potentially new industrial, and pharmaceutical products that have only recently been investigated. The USDA, ARS, PGRCU maintains several hundred accessions. Castorbeans are used in industrial products such as paint, varnish, motor oil, and laxatives. Other potential pharmaceuticals that have been discovered in castorbean are catalase which is an antioxidant. Lecithin is antitumorous (lung), while rutin is an antioxidant but, also is antibacterial, anticancer, antidiabetic, cancer preventive, and antiviral.