highly toxic, naturally occurring lectin produced in the seeds of the castor oil plant, Ricinus communis

Ricin is a poison. It is a highly toxic, naturally occurring protein. It is produced in the seeds of the castor oil plant Ricinus communis.

A dose the size of a few grains of table salt can kill an adult human.[1] The median lethal dose (LD50) of ricin is around 22 micrograms per kilogram (1.78 mg for an average adult, around ​1228 of a standard aspirin tablet/0.4 g gross) in humans if injected or inhaled.[2] Oral exposure to ricin is far less toxic and a lethal dose can be up to 30–40 milligrams per kilogram.

Ricin prevents cells from assembling various amino acids into proteins, and death occurs after a few hours up to a day. Ricin has been used as a terrorist weapon, including the assassination of Georgi Markov in 1978, supposedly by the KGB.

References change

  1. "What makes ricin so deadly". Anthony Sabella. Archived from the original on 2013-04-30. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  2. "EFSA Scientific Opinion: Ricin (from Ricinus communis) as undesirable substances in animal feed [1] - Scientific Opinion of the Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain". Efsa.europa.eu. Retrieved 2010-09-01.[permanent dead link]