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Ricin

Castor beans

The protein ricin (pronounced rye-sin) is a poison manufactured from the castor bean (Ricinus communis). Its name comes from the seed's resemblance to the tick. Ricin can be extracted from castor beans and is known to have an average lethal dose in humans of 0.2 milligrams (1/5,000th of a gram), though some sources give higher figures [1]. It is considered to be twice as deadly as cobra venom.

Toxicity and manufacture

Ricin is poisonous if inhaled, injected, or ingested, acting as a toxin by the inhibition of protein synthesis. There is no known antidote; only symptomatic and supportive treatment is available. Long term organ damage is likely in survivors. In small doses, such as the typical dose contained in a measure of castor oil, ricin causes digestive tract cramps. Ingested in larger doses, ricin causes severe diarrhea and victims can die of shock. (See abrin).

Although the castor bean plant has long been noted for its toxicity, ricin was first isolated and named in 1888 by Hermann Stillmark. Modern feed-making techniques break down the ricin in castor beans by heating at 140 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes, although some studies suggest that residual toxic effects may linger. Although one seed contains enough ricin to kill an adult human, they may pass harmlessly through the digestive system if swallowed whole. [2]. Typically 2.5–20 raw seeds can kill an adult human; 4 a rabbit, 5 a sheep, 6 an ox, 6 a horse, 7 a pig, 11 a dog, but 80 for cocks and ducks.[3]

Ricin consists of two distinct protein chains (almost 30kDa each) that are linked to each other by disulfide bond:

  • Ricin A is toxic to the cell by interfering with Ribosomes, responsible for protein synthesis
  • Ricin B is important in assisting ricin A's entry into a cell by binding with a cell surface component.

Many plants such as barley have the A chain but not the B chain. Since people do not get sick from eating large amounts of such products, ricin A is of extremely low toxicity if and only if the B chain is not present.

Ricin is easily purified from castor-oil manufacturing waste. The seed-pulp left over from pressing for castor oil contains on average about 5% by weight of ricin. Since 0.2 mg of purified Ricin constitutes a fatal dose, this is a considerable amount of ricin.

As little as one castor bean, about 0.5 grams, may be fatal in a child.

In the United states, a person caught manufacturing or possessing ricin may be sentenced up to 30 years in prison.

Potential medicinal use

Ricin may have therapeutic use in the treatment of cancer. Ricin could be linked to a monoclonal antibody to target malignant cells recognized by the antibody. Genetic modification of ricin is believed to be possible to lessen its toxicity to humans, but not to the cancer cells. A promising approach is also to use the non-toxic B subunit as a vehicle for delivering antigens into cells thus greatly increasing their immunogenicity. Use of ricin as an adjuvant has potential implications for developing mucosal vaccines

Use as a chemical/biological warfare agent

The United States investigated ricin for its military potential during the First World War. At that time it was being considered for use either as a toxic dust or coated bullets and shrapnel. The dust cloud concept could not be adequately developed, and researchers believed the coated bullet/shrapnel concept was unethical. The War ended before it was weaponized.

During the Second World War the United States and Canada undertook studying ricin in cluster bombs. Though there were plans for mass production and several field trials with different bomblet concepts, the end conclusion was that it was no more economical than using phosgene. This conclusion was based on comparison of the final weapons rather than ricin's toxicity (LD50 <30 mg.min.m–3). Ricin was given the military symbol W.

The best-known documented use of ricin as an agent of biological warfare was by the Soviet Union's KGB during the Cold War. In 1978, the Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov was assassinated by Bulgarian secret police who surreptitiously 'shot' him on a London street with a modified umbrella using compressed gas to fire a tiny pellet contaminated with ricin into his leg. He died in hospital a few days later; the pellet was discovered by chance during an autopsy and the poison linked back to the KGB. Earlier, Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn also suffered (but survived) ricin-like symptoms after a 1971 encounter with KGB agents (D.M. Thomas, Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century in His Life, 368-378).

Despite ricin's extreme toxicity and utility as an agent of chemical/biological warfare, it is extremely difficult to limit the production of the toxin. Under both the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, ricin is listed as a schedule 1 controlled substance. Despite this, more than 1 million metric tonnes of castor beans are processed each year, and approximately 5% of the total is rendered into a waste containing high concentrations of ricin toxin [4].

In August of 2002, US officials asserted that the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Islam tested ricin, along with other chemical and biological agents, in northern Iraq.

To put ricin used as weapon into perspective, it is worth noting that as a biological weapon or chemical weapon, ricin may be considered as not very powerful, if only in comparison with other poisons such as botulinum or anthrax. Hence, a military willing to use biological weapons and having advanced resources would rather use either of the latter instead. Ricin is easy to produce, but is not as practical nor likely to cause as high casualities as other agents. Ricin denatures (ie, the protein changes structure and becomes less dangerous) much more readily than anthrax spores, which may remain lethal for decades. (Jan van Aken, an expert on biological weapons explained in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel that he judges it rather reassuring that Al Qaeda experimented with ricin as it suggests their inability to produce botulin or anthrax.)

Pure ricin could be dispersed through the air, however it would tend to be oxidized and rendered harmless by ozone, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants in a matter of hours. Since it acts as an enzyme, catalyzing destruction of ribosomes, even a single oxidation is likely to render the ricin molecule harmless. Presumably it could be sealed inside some sort of dust particle that would dissolve in water, but this would be difficult.

The major reason it is dangerous is that there is no specific antidote, and that it is very easy to obtain (the castor bean plant is a common ornamental, and can be grown at home without any special care). Ricin is actually several orders of magnitude less toxic than botulinum or tetanus toxins, but those are more difficult to obtain.

Ricin patent

"Preparation of Toxic Ricin",
patent application.

The process for creating ricin is well-known, in part because a patent was granted for it in 1952. The inventors named in US Patent 3,060,165 (granted October 23, 1962) "Preparation of Toxic Ricin", assigned to the U.S. Secretary of the Army, are Harry L. Craig, O.H. Alderks, Alsoph H. Corwin, Sally H. Dieke, and Charlotte Karel.

The patent was removed from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database sometime in 2004, but is still available online through international patent databases.

Ricin extraction process

The extraction of ricin from castor beans is very similar to the prepartion of soy protein isolates. Modern extraction plants might use membrane filtration to make highly purified ricin isolates

Ricin is initially extracted from defatted castor beans by aquous extraction at pH 3.8 to yield a leachate containing solubilized ricin. The leachate is filtered to remove insoluble matter and the crude ricin then precipitated by the addition of a 12% solution of sodium sulfate with a pH of 7.0-8.0. After precipitation, the crude ricin cake is washed with a 16.7% solution of sodium sulfate to remove extranious nitrogenous substances. The precipitated ricin may be reextracted once to further purify it.

The final ricin precipitate is dried and then purified by floatation in carbon tetrachloride. An aerosol powder may be prepared by spray drying or air grinding the purified ricin using cold air.

Ricin-related arrests in Britain in 2003

It was widely reported in the media that traces of ricin were detected by British police in a flat in Wood Green, North London after a raid on a suspected ring of terrorists on 5 January 2003. Media reports stated that a group was suspected of intending to use the poison in an attack on the London Underground. However at the trial of Kamel Bourgass in 2005 it became apparent that within a few days of the raid the leader of the Biological Weapon Identification Group at the Porton Down Defence Science and Technology Laboratory had concluded that ricin was not present at Wood Green [5] [6]. Some acetone, 22 castor beans, and poor recipes for ricin and other poisons copied from the Internet were found. It appears that an individual conducting amateur research on poisons was found in this raid.

A little later several arrests were made in France and a bottle of something that tested positive for ricin was found. Further analysis identified the material as ground wheat germ. The analytic confusion was caused by the similarity of many plant proteins to one of the ricin components, which suggests that higher quality (better specificity and sensitivity) analytic tests for ricin are needed.

Six more suspects were arrested in Bournemouth in England in connection with the investigation into the alleged ricin incident in London. They were not convicted of any poisons related crime.

Three more suspects were arrested in Manchester in England in connection with the investigation of the alleged ricin found in London, following a raid carried out pursuant to an investigation into immigration issues. A Special Branch policeman, DC Stephen Oake, was fatally stabbed during the arrests, and three other officers were also injured, one seriously.

On January 20, 2003 Finsbury Park mosque was raided by police, apparently as part of the investigation into the alleged discovery of ricin in Wood Green. A number of men who were apparently living at the mosque were arrested.

On February 5, 2003, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presented those arrested as the "UK Poison Cell" of a global terrorist network in making the case for military intervention in Iraq to the UN Security Council [7].

In April 2005 31-year-old Kamel Bourgass was jailed for 17 years after being convicted of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance "by the use of poisons and explosives to cause disruption, fear or injury". He was also jailed for life following a conviction for murdering the Special Branch policeman who went to arrest him. All others accused in connection with the Wood Green flat were acquitted on all counts.

Ricin in Washington, D.C.

Ricin was detected in the mail at the White House in Washington, D.C. in November of 2003. The letter containing it was intercepted at a mail handling facility off the grounds of the White House, and it never reached its intended destination. The letter contained a fine powdery substance that later tested positive for ricin. Investigators said it was low potency and was not considered a health risk. This information was not made public until February 3, 2004, when preliminary tests showed the presence of ricin in an office mailroom of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's office. There were no signs that anyone who was near the contaminated area developed any medical problems. Several Senate office buildings were closed as a precaution.

Ricin in popular culture

Ricin was the poison used in the Agatha Christie Tommy and Tuppence whodunnit The House of Lurking Death in a 1929 collection of short stories called Partners in Crime.

Ricin was used as the poison of choice of the murderer in the 1962 comedy film Kill or Cure.

Ricin was mentioned in the "call me the prankster" comic at toothpaste for dinner

The Penn and Teller book How To Play With Your Food (ISBN 0679743111) includes a "gimmicks envelope" of small objects related to the tricks inside the book. One of these is a sticker reading "With all-natural ricin!". The book explains that ricin is a poison.


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The book explains that ricin is a poison. The fact it took the committee so long to approve the list means there was some debate."[10]. One of these is a sticker reading "With all-natural ricin!". [9] According to a CP article, "[COC president] Chambers said the [unusual meeting] was prompted by some media concerns raised over the three athletes participating in the Games. The Penn and Teller book How To Play With Your Food (ISBN 0679743111) includes a "gimmicks envelope" of small objects related to the tricks inside the book. The committee had concerns stemming from the Steve Moore incident and Bertuzzi's probationary status [8], but subsequently approved his representation of Canada at the Olympic games. Ricin was mentioned in the "call me the prankster" comic at toothpaste for dinner. His inclusion, along with that of Dany Heatley and Shane Doan, was discussed at length by the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Ricin was used as the poison of choice of the murderer in the 1962 comedy film Kill or Cure. Bertuzzi was selected to play on the Canadian national men's hockey team at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Ricin was the poison used in the Agatha Christie Tommy and Tuppence whodunnit The House of Lurking Death in a 1929 collection of short stories called Partners in Crime. Steve Moore's Toronto-based lawyer, Tim Danson, has publicly stated that Moore is skating and doing regular workouts, but continues to suffer concussion-related symptoms.[7]. Several Senate office buildings were closed as a precaution. It's been some tough times, but I've got good family and good friends and good peers in the league that have helped me get over the hump and move forward and come through it." [6]. There were no signs that anyone who was near the contaminated area developed any medical problems. I know I wish that day never happened.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's office. "I'm sure just like Steve Moore and his family, it's been difficult for both parties. This information was not made public until February 3, 2004, when preliminary tests showed the presence of ricin in an office mailroom of U.S. On 15 August 2005, Todd broke his 17 month long silence by admitting to his mistake and expressing a desire to move on with his life. Investigators said it was low potency and was not considered a health risk. This would make him inelligible to file a claim in Canada, as he has given evidence that he does not maintain a primary Canadian residence. The letter contained a fine powdery substance that later tested positive for ricin. The potential second suit may not be heard, as Moore's sworn testimony lists his primary residence to be in Denver, Colorado.

The letter containing it was intercepted at a mail handling facility off the grounds of the White House, and it never reached its intended destination. The lawsuit was thrown out in October 2005, as the Colorado judge felt that British Columbia was a better venue for the suit.[5] Moore plans to appeal the lawsuit, and file a similar suit against Bertuzzi in British Columbia. in November of 2003. Also named were Brad May, Brian Burke (the Canucks' general manager at the time of the incident), and the Canucks team. Ricin was detected in the mail at the White House in Washington, D.C. On 17 February 2005, Bertuzzi was named in a lawsuit filed by Steve Moore. All others accused in connection with the Wood Green flat were acquitted on all counts. [3] In the league's decision, they cited many reasons for ending the suspension, such as:.

He was also jailed for life following a conviction for murdering the Special Branch policeman who went to arrest him. On 8 August 2005, the NHL announced that Bertuzzi would be allowed to play hockey again at the start of the 2005-06 NHL season. In April 2005 31-year-old Kamel Bourgass was jailed for 17 years after being convicted of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance "by the use of poisons and explosives to cause disruption, fear or injury". It was felt that in the gentler European leagues, Bertuzzi would have drawn too much negative publicity. Secretary of State Colin Powell presented those arrested as the "UK Poison Cell" of a global terrorist network in making the case for military intervention in Iraq to the UN Security Council [7]. This meant that Bertuzzi could not play hockey in Europe during the lockout. On February 5, 2003, U.S. Although Bertuzzi had played in a charity game in Vancouver that was arranged during the 2004-05 NHL lockout, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) had extended his suspension to cover their jurisdiction.

A number of men who were apparently living at the mosque were arrested. The Vancouver Canucks were also fined $250,000 USD, on 11 March 2004 for "...failure to prevent the atmosphere that may have led to [the incident].". On January 20, 2003 Finsbury Park mosque was raided by police, apparently as part of the investigation into the alleged discovery of ricin in Wood Green. Bertuzzi was suspended indefinitely by the NHL, and lost approximately $500,000 USD in pay. A Special Branch policeman, DC Stephen Oake, was fatally stabbed during the arrests, and three other officers were also injured, one seriously. Under Canadian law, if Bertuzzi successfully completes the probation then the criminal record of the incident will be expunged.[2]. Three more suspects were arrested in Manchester in England in connection with the investigation of the alleged ricin found in London, following a raid carried out pursuant to an investigation into immigration issues. Bertuzzi was able to arrange a plea bargain with prosecutors, and was given a conditional discharge and one year's probation.

They were not convicted of any poisons related crime. On 24 June 2004, the criminal justice branch of the British Columbia Ministry of the Attorney General announced that Bertuzzi was formally charged with assault causing bodily harm. Six more suspects were arrested in Bournemouth in England in connection with the investigation into the alleged ricin incident in London. Moore suffered three fractured vertebrae in his neck, a grade three concussion, vertebral ligament damage, stretching of the brachial plexus nerves, and facial cuts. The analytic confusion was caused by the similarity of many plant proteins to one of the ricin components, which suggests that higher quality (better specificity and sensitivity) analytic tests for ricin are needed. At this point, Moore's Colorado teammates retaliated against Bertuzzi, jumping on and around the ensuing pile. Further analysis identified the material as ground wheat germ. Bertuzzi then either intentionally or accidentally fell forward, his momentum driving Moore into the ice.

A little later several arrests were made in France and a bottle of something that tested positive for ricin was found. Moore was instantly knocked unconscious. It appears that an individual conducting amateur research on poisons was found in this raid. When Moore ignored him, Bertuzzi punched Moore blindly in the side of the head. Some acetone, 22 castor beans, and poor recipes for ricin and other poisons copied from the Internet were found. During another Vancouver-Colorado game three weeks after the Naslund hit, on 8 March 2004, Bertuzzi began following Steve Moore down the ice attempting to instigate a fight. However at the trial of Kamel Bourgass in 2005 it became apparent that within a few days of the raid the leader of the Biological Weapon Identification Group at the Porton Down Defence Science and Technology Laboratory had concluded that ricin was not present at Wood Green [5] [6]. Canucks general manager Brian Burke criticized Moore after the game, calling him "a marginal player", and accusing him of "headhunting"[1].

Media reports stated that a group was suspected of intending to use the poison in an attack on the London Underground. Canucks head coach Marc Crawford publicly criticized the non-call by the referees on the incident. It was widely reported in the media that traces of ricin were detected by British police in a flat in Wood Green, North London after a raid on a suspected ring of terrorists on 5 January 2003. This drew the ire of many Vancouver Canucks as their captain was sidelined with a concussion for three games. An aerosol powder may be prepared by spray drying or air grinding the purified ricin using cold air. The attending referee's opinion was that the hit was legal and required no penalty, though this was later reviewed by NHL officials, who upheld his decision. The final ricin precipitate is dried and then purified by floatation in carbon tetrachloride. On 16 February 2004, during a Vancouver-Colorado game, Moore injured Vancouver Canucks team captain Markus Näslund with a hard open-ice bodycheck.

The precipitated ricin may be reextracted once to further purify it. Bertuzzi is one of the league's largest and most feared players, renowned for his thunderous checks. After precipitation, the crude ricin cake is washed with a 16.7% solution of sodium sulfate to remove extranious nitrogenous substances. consisting of himself, Markus Näslund, and Brendan Morrison. The leachate is filtered to remove insoluble matter and the crude ricin then precipitated by the addition of a 12% solution of sodium sulfate with a pH of 7.0-8.0. Bertuzzi plays on the top line of the Vancouver Canucks, sometimes referred to as the West Coast Express. Ricin is initially extracted from defatted castor beans by aquous extraction at pH 3.8 to yield a leachate containing solubilized ricin. (Linden has since returned to Vancouver.) Bertuzzi's best season was 2002-2003, when he had 97 points.

Modern extraction plants might use membrane filtration to make highly purified ricin isolates. Bertuzzi was drafted in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders, but was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in 1998 along with Bryan McCabe for Trevor Linden. The extraction of ricin from castor beans is very similar to the prepartion of soy protein isolates. . The patent was removed from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database sometime in 2004, but is still available online through international patent databases. 2 February 1975 in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada) is a professional ice hockey player in the National Hockey League (NHL), playing for the Vancouver Canucks. Dieke, and Charlotte Karel. Todd Bertuzzi (b.

Corwin, Sally H. 2004 - Played in NHL All-Star Game. Alderks, Alsoph H. 2003 - Played in NHL All-Star Game. Craig, O.H. 2003 - NHL First All-Star Team. Secretary of the Army, are Harry L. 1995 - OHL Second All-Star team.

The inventors named in US Patent 3,060,165 (granted October 23, 1962) "Preparation of Toxic Ricin", assigned to the U.S. Bertuzzi is genuinely remorseful and apologetic for his actions. The process for creating ricin is well-known, in part because a patent was granted for it in 1952. The commissioner's belief that Mr. Ricin is actually several orders of magnitude less toxic than botulinum or tetanus toxins, but those are more difficult to obtain. Significant uncertainty, anxiety, stress and emotional pain caused to Bertuzzi's family. The major reason it is dangerous is that there is no specific antidote, and that it is very easy to obtain (the castor bean plant is a common ornamental, and can be grown at home without any special care). Lost endorsements (approximately $350,000.00 USD).

Presumably it could be sealed inside some sort of dust particle that would dissolve in water, but this would be difficult. Bertuzzi's forfeited salary ($501,926.39 USD). Since it acts as an enzyme, catalyzing destruction of ribosomes, even a single oxidation is likely to render the ricin molecule harmless. Moore personally. Pure ricin could be dispersed through the air, however it would tend to be oxidized and rendered harmless by ozone, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants in a matter of hours. Bertuzzi's repeated attempts to apologize to Mr. (Jan van Aken, an expert on biological weapons explained in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel that he judges it rather reassuring that Al Qaeda experimented with ricin as it suggests their inability to produce botulin or anthrax.). Bertuzzi serving the 2nd longest, and arguably the most severe suspension in NHL history (13 regular season games, 7 playoff games; a total of 17 months, including the NHL lockout) [4].

Ricin denatures (ie, the protein changes structure and becomes less dangerous) much more readily than anthrax spores, which may remain lethal for decades. Weight: 111 kg (245 lb). Ricin is easy to produce, but is not as practical nor likely to cause as high casualities as other agents. Height: 190 cm (6 ft 3 in). Hence, a military willing to use biological weapons and having advanced resources would rather use either of the latter instead. Shoots: Left. To put ricin used as weapon into perspective, it is worth noting that as a biological weapon or chemical weapon, ricin may be considered as not very powerful, if only in comparison with other poisons such as botulinum or anthrax. Position: Right Wing.

In August of 2002, US officials asserted that the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Islam tested ricin, along with other chemical and biological agents, in northern Iraq. Despite this, more than 1 million metric tonnes of castor beans are processed each year, and approximately 5% of the total is rendered into a waste containing high concentrations of ricin toxin [4]. Under both the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, ricin is listed as a schedule 1 controlled substance. Despite ricin's extreme toxicity and utility as an agent of chemical/biological warfare, it is extremely difficult to limit the production of the toxin.

Thomas, Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century in His Life, 368-378). Earlier, Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn also suffered (but survived) ricin-like symptoms after a 1971 encounter with KGB agents (D.M. He died in hospital a few days later; the pellet was discovered by chance during an autopsy and the poison linked back to the KGB. In 1978, the Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov was assassinated by Bulgarian secret police who surreptitiously 'shot' him on a London street with a modified umbrella using compressed gas to fire a tiny pellet contaminated with ricin into his leg.

The best-known documented use of ricin as an agent of biological warfare was by the Soviet Union's KGB during the Cold War. Ricin was given the military symbol W. This conclusion was based on comparison of the final weapons rather than ricin's toxicity (LD50 <30 mg.min.m–3). Though there were plans for mass production and several field trials with different bomblet concepts, the end conclusion was that it was no more economical than using phosgene.

During the Second World War the United States and Canada undertook studying ricin in cluster bombs. The War ended before it was weaponized. The dust cloud concept could not be adequately developed, and researchers believed the coated bullet/shrapnel concept was unethical. At that time it was being considered for use either as a toxic dust or coated bullets and shrapnel.

The United States investigated ricin for its military potential during the First World War. Use of ricin as an adjuvant has potential implications for developing mucosal vaccines. A promising approach is also to use the non-toxic B subunit as a vehicle for delivering antigens into cells thus greatly increasing their immunogenicity. Genetic modification of ricin is believed to be possible to lessen its toxicity to humans, but not to the cancer cells.

Ricin could be linked to a monoclonal antibody to target malignant cells recognized by the antibody. Ricin may have therapeutic use in the treatment of cancer. In the United states, a person caught manufacturing or possessing ricin may be sentenced up to 30 years in prison. As little as one castor bean, about 0.5 grams, may be fatal in a child.

Since 0.2 mg of purified Ricin constitutes a fatal dose, this is a considerable amount of ricin. The seed-pulp left over from pressing for castor oil contains on average about 5% by weight of ricin. Ricin is easily purified from castor-oil manufacturing waste. Since people do not get sick from eating large amounts of such products, ricin A is of extremely low toxicity if and only if the B chain is not present..

Many plants such as barley have the A chain but not the B chain. Ricin consists of two distinct protein chains (almost 30kDa each) that are linked to each other by disulfide bond:. Typically 2.5–20 raw seeds can kill an adult human; 4 a rabbit, 5 a sheep, 6 an ox, 6 a horse, 7 a pig, 11 a dog, but 80 for cocks and ducks.[3]. [2].

Although one seed contains enough ricin to kill an adult human, they may pass harmlessly through the digestive system if swallowed whole. Modern feed-making techniques break down the ricin in castor beans by heating at 140 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes, although some studies suggest that residual toxic effects may linger. Although the castor bean plant has long been noted for its toxicity, ricin was first isolated and named in 1888 by Hermann Stillmark. (See abrin).

Ingested in larger doses, ricin causes severe diarrhea and victims can die of shock. In small doses, such as the typical dose contained in a measure of castor oil, ricin causes digestive tract cramps. Long term organ damage is likely in survivors. There is no known antidote; only symptomatic and supportive treatment is available.

Ricin is poisonous if inhaled, injected, or ingested, acting as a toxin by the inhibition of protein synthesis. . It is considered to be twice as deadly as cobra venom. Ricin can be extracted from castor beans and is known to have an average lethal dose in humans of 0.2 milligrams (1/5,000th of a gram), though some sources give higher figures [1].

Its name comes from the seed's resemblance to the tick. The protein ricin (pronounced rye-sin) is a poison manufactured from the castor bean (Ricinus communis). Ricin B is important in assisting ricin A's entry into a cell by binding with a cell surface component. Ricin A is toxic to the cell by interfering with Ribosomes, responsible for protein synthesis.

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