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The Features, Controversies, and illustration for Castors

 
 

Michelle Hu1, Chiachung Chen*2


1. Linne International Trade Co., PTY Ltd.

2. The Africa Industrial Research Center, National Chung Hsing University

*. Corresponding author:

Chiachung Chen, Ph.D., Professor

145 Xingda Rd., Taichung, Taiwan 40227

Tel: 886-4-22857562, Fax: 886-4-22857135

Web site: bse.nchu.edu.tw

Email: ccchen@dragon.nchu.edu.tw

 

The Features, Controversies, and illustration for Castors in the Kingdom of Eswatini

Abstract

Castor beans are an economic crop in major countries of the world. India is the leading country, followed by China. The major producing countries in Africa are Ethiopia, South Africa, and Angola. The castor beans plants are planted for the oil produced from seeds. The seeds contain ricin and ricinine which are concerned about poisonous to humans and animals.

Regarding castor, some controversies are concerned. They are:1. Has castor been planted, has it caused poisoning or other effects on the soil? 2. Are the stems and leaves of castor beans poisonous to livestock? 3. What is the effect of castor feed on livestock? 4. Is castor poisonous to humans? 5. If carbon trading is considered, what is the capacity of one hectare of castor to fix CO2?

In this study mini-review, these controversies are discussed and the illustrations are provided with surveying and literature. The results of this study indicated that the castor plants do not cause poisoning and have positive effects on the soil. The stems and leaves of castor beans are not poisonous to livestock unless they eat a lot of leaves. The effect of castor feed on livestock is positive and the processing of detox work needs to be strict. The castor beans are not poisonous to humans unless ingesting broken castor beans or chewing on the seeds. ? The capacity of one hectare of castor to fix CO2 is 34.6 tonnes so it provides this revenue pathway in the form of carbon tax credits

 

I. Introduction

According to Wikipedia (Wikipedia. 2022), the Ricinus communis is called the castor beans or castor oil plant a species of perennial flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. Castor seed has a wide variety of uses, especially as a rich source of castor oil. Seeds contain between 40% and 60% oil that is rich in triglycerides, mainly with ricinolein. The seed also contains a soluble toxin, called ricin. Ricin exits in lower concentrations in the plant. Castor oil is used as an effective motor lubricant.

Kunene and Masarirambi (2018) mentioned that castor is a traditional use of medicinal plants. Castor beans are an economic crop in the world. India is the leading country. The production in major countries are listed as following: India (1,196,680 tons), Mozambique (85,089 tons), China (36,000 tons), Brazil (16,349 tons), Ethiopia (11,157 tons), Vietnam (7,000 tons), South Africa (6,721 tons), and Paraguay (6,000 tons) (Sun, 2022).

China is the largest consumer of castor oil. In 2021, China will import nearly 330,000 tons of castor oil, with a total consumption of about 340,000 tons. With the rising price of petrochemical products and the advent of the world's green wave, castor oil is widely used in blowing agents, resins, and adhesives. In 2021, consumption for these uses exceeds 120,000 tons, while castor oil for sebacic acid is about 190,000 tons.

The Linne Company is an important company for the production of castor beans in Swatini. At the invitation of His Majesty King Mswati III through the Taiwanese Ambassador to Swatini, Linne International Trading Co., Ltd. accepted the invitation. Linne Company believes that castor oil production will create jobs, reduce hunger and earn foreign currency for the kingdom of Eswatini, earning benefits carbon rights for the country. Since 2013, Linne has planted 4 hectares of castor oil in Matata as a seeding center 2013-2018. 2014-2016 in Gebeni, 40 hectares. 2016-2019 in Luve, 35 hectares. 20 hectares in Croydon in 2016-2017. At the Nisela farm, 50 hectares in 2016-2019. Demonstration on 2 hectares of land in ESWADE, 2018-2019.

China is the largest consumer of castor oil. In 2021, China will import nearly 330,000 tons of castor oil, with a total consumption of about 340,000 tons. With the rising price of petrochemical products and the advent of the world's green wave, castor oil is widely used in blowing agents, resins, and adhesives. In 2021, consumption for these uses exceeds 120,000 tons, while castor oil for sebacic acid is about 190,000 tons.

Europe’s consumption will increase by about 5.7% from 2020 to 2021. China saw substantial growth of 34.8% in 2020 and 3.6% in 2021. The U.S. saw a massive 23.1% increase in 2020 and an 11.2% increase in 2021. The world as a whole will grow by 4.8% in 2020 and 2021, respectively (Baldh, 2022).

The reason for the consumption increase is explained by Lamy (2022). The major goal of the chemical industry is to find a way to replace oil-based, high-performance plastics with bio-based and sustainable ones. Castor oil is recognized as a renewable raw material and is suitable to replace these oil-based polymers without compromising material performance.

Shaheed (2022) believes that consumer demand for castor oil is expected to remain at normal levels in 2022. Some fluctuations in demand and higher prices have the potential to hinder new demand and limit new growth. However, with new applications, the growth potential, and castor and soybean oil prices are correlated. Sustainability in the castor industry is more important.

Castor has been cultivated for centuries, mainly to produce seeds for oil extraction. Castor oil has been used as lamp oil in Ethiopia for more than 6,000 years. Egyptians have been burning castor oil in their lamps for about 4,000 years. Ethiopia is now recognized as a place of origin due to having the highest genetic diversity of the crop

The species was first recorded in the United States in the 1760s in Florida, and by 1819 it was classified as a naturalized plant in Hawaii. In the West Indies, R. Communis was first recorded in Martinique in 1822 and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1883. It was introduced to Curaçao and Bermuda from the American continent.

Castor beans contain 35% to 55% oil. Notably, this oil contains ricin and ricin. Ricin and ricinolein contained in seeds are toxic to humans and animals. Eating too many seeds can lead to death, like raw cassava tubers. But these toxic compounds in castor beans are not present in castor oil.

Castor oil is used as biodiesel, which is blended with diesel as a renewable feedstock. According to the "Kyoto Protocol," the regulation can reduce the production of greenhouse gases.

 The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement aimed at reducing carbon dioxide and other gas emissions. The ratifying countries of the Kyoto Protocol each allocate their highest carbon emission levels and participate in carbon credit trading. Under the agreement, industrialized countries will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent in 2012. Different countries are riding their own implementation goals. The EU member states, for example, aim to reduce emissions by 8% by 2012. The United States' 2012 emission reduction target is 7%, while Canada's target is 6%.

Due to the Kyoto Protocol, oil-rich crops such as castor oil, the same as sugarcane that produces bioethanol, have emerged as candidates for biofuel crop production.

Biofuels are a good green alternative to fossil fuels and currently come from edible vegetable oils such as castor, soybean, palm, and sunflower. But using food-producing land to produce biofuels puts pressure on food supplies. This becomes an indirect land-use change (ILUC). Castor can be grown on contaminated soils to improve soil properties and maintain ecosystems, reduce soil erosion, and reduce the spread of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) into the environment. Castor is grown on marginal land unsuitable for food crops, and the harvested product has a variety of uses and is already available for biodiesel production. These properties make it suitable for sustainable biodiesel production. The link between biofuel production and environmental remediation is considered a win-win strategy (Carrino et al., 2020).

Biofuels are becoming a major policy and a major industry to help countries around the world reduce their dependence on oil, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector, and improve the profitability of the agricultural sector. (Berman et al., 2011; Drown et al., 2001) consider the use of castor oil to produce biodiesel as technically feasible. The chemical industry has a high demand for very high-value products. Biodiesel produced from castor oil has significant advantages in lubricating properties. The reason is that castor oil has a high energy value and positive fuel properties

Dias et al. (2013) evaluated the suitability of the castor plant in northern Portugal and assessed that the extracted feedstock oil was used for biodiesel production without any refining. Its eyes start from the sowing of castor beans, and the seeds are harvested manually 24 months after the plant is planted. An experimental program was conducted to evaluate the effect of temperature and reaction time on product yield and quality, and mechanical and chemical oil extraction procedures were evaluated. An oil yield of 54.1% (w/w) was obtained by performing Soxhlet extraction with methanol for 20 trials. Product yield increased from 43.3% to 74.1%. To obtain higher product yields and quality using crude oil, it is recommended to use longer reaction times compared to refined oils that have been commonly reported. The optimal temperature and reaction time for biodiesel production from crude castor oil was 65 degrees Celsius and 8 hours, and the best model predicted a product yield of 73.62% and a purity of 83.41%.

Severino et al. (2012) argue that castor oil properties are unique among vegetable oils as it is the only commercial source of hydroxylated fatty acid (ricinoleic acid). This unique hydroxylated fatty acid makes up approximately 90% of castor oil. No other commercial vegetable oil produces such high levels of single fatty acids, and aside from this advantage, the production environment has little effect on ricinoleic acid concentrations. The fatty acid composition of castor oil grown at different locations or at different times for this industry is expected to vary little (Ramos et al., 1984; Ogunniyi, 2006; Xu et al., 2008; Mutlu and Meier, 2010).

The estimated energy required to produce biodiesel from castor oil is 56.8 GJ/ha. Castor beans production consumes 19% of the total energy, with the majority of energy consumption in castor oil extraction and refining (39%) and biodiesel production (42%). If the energy consumed by by-products (field residues, husks, meals, etc.) is not taken into account, a negative energy balance occurs in biodiesel production (Chechetto et al., 2010). In other words, its production process is characterized by carbon sinking.

Castor is a hardy crop that survives easily in a wide range of ecosystems. This crop can grow in temperate, subtropical, and tropical regions. The suitable growth temperature of the castor is 20-25℃. The lowest temperature is 14-15°C and the highest temperature is 36°C. The optimum temperature for germination is 31°C. This plant is drought tolerant and requires about 300-450 mm of rainfall during vegetative growth.

 The water content of the soil is key to flowering and fruit sets, and drought can affect seed yield and oil content. The best soil is a sandy loam that is well-drained, deep, well-ventilated, and moderately fertile. Poorly drained heavy clay and swampy soils are not suitable for castor cultivation.

Kumar (2022) proposed an evaluation study of castor farms through the SEA model. Its recommendations are to use uniform guidelines to improve water efficiency and be able to combat climate change. Focus on integrated operations such as soil health testing, crop insurance, institutionalized credit, etc.

The SOP of castor production is very useful to ensure the quality and quantity of the harvesting materials. The list of the SOP of castor production is shown as the following (Severino et al., 2012; Nweke, 2019).

1. Availability of seeds with high-quality genetic purity, high viability, and seedling vigor.

2. Proper seedbed preparation for fast and uniform emergence

3. Proper planting procedure and the application of plant nutrients

4. Proper site selection

5. Right planting time

6. Proper seedbed preparation

7. Recommended plant population and planting pattern,

8. Adequate fertilization and irrigation

9. Weeding

10. Topping to encourage branching of the plants

11. Pruning to the required number of branches per plant to increase seed yield

12. Diseases and insect pest management, when they occur

13. Timely harvesting

14. Threshing, sorting, and bagging.

15. Seed processing

16. Farm sanitation is common with regular farming practices

 

The Appearance features of castor are introduced (Weiss, 1971; Oplinger et al., 1999; Anjani, 2012; Salihu, 2014; Edje and Ossom, 2016),

The leaves are large, usually dark green, but also dark reddish-brown, turning bluish-blue in old age, depending on the cultivar and stage of development. Leaf color varies from light green to dark red, depending on the level of anthocyanin pigmentation present. About 15 to 45 cm long, petioles long. The leaves are palmate or stellate, with toothed margins, divided into 7-9 lobes. There are prominent veins below. The leaves are alternate, shiny, glabrous, and strongly scented, below the stems 10-30 cm long. There are two opposite leaves at the node just above the cotyledons. Some pigments mask the green color of all chlorophyll-containing parts. Prolonged sunlight does not seem to affect the growth and expansion of castor leaves as long as there is enough water for evapotranspiration. Insufficient water, however, can affect leaf growth and expansion. Decreased leaf growth and expansion in dry seasons and a sharp drop in leaves will result in a low surface area for photosynthetic activity, thus contributing to the decline in yields in such seasons. Leaf diseases caused by bacteria and fungi can also affect yield.

Castor stems are round, hollow, glabrous, dull, pale green, sometimes reddish, and gray in old age. The color can be seen graduating due to the growing season or environment. When aged, the color of the stem usually turns gray at the base. Young stems are capable of photosynthesis due to the presence of mesoplasts. In the natural environment, stems are multi-branched, with primary branches giving rise to secondary branches, an order that persists throughout the life of the plant. The stems of the large types of castor are usually solid and of considerable height. There are developed nodes, each of which produces a leaf. The first node to appear in a raceme is an important agronomic characteristic, as it is associated with rapid ripening. To reduce apical dominance, tops are usually removed at 30-60 cm to reduce the height and increase branching. Pruning can reduce the height or number of primary branches to 5 to 6. Used to reduce plant height and increase yield, so that photosynthetic synthesis is concentrated in a few selected viable branches.

The castor plant has a strong taproot and thick fibrous lateral roots. Castor plants can generally be divided into tall and dwarf genotypes. Tall plants have a large, well-developed taproot that can reach several feet in length and have numerous lateral and secondary roots. Roots of the dwarf type always reflect the peculiarities of the cultivar or the cultivation system and have no less obvious taproots. Root growth tends to be slower in arid regions where only rainfall sustains their livelihoods. A well-developed root system enables the plant to maximize the use of soil moisture, which is the main reason for the plant's resistance to drought. Root systems are strongly correlated with yield, as a good root system allows crops to absorb the necessary nutrients and water for proper biomass accumulation. Castor beans planted in soft soil facilitate the normal development of the root system, which in turn contributes to higher yields

The fruit is an ovate or round spiny capsule, 2.5 cm long, covered with soft spines, red-green, a three-celled capsule, mostly 3 petals, each containing 1 seed. The fruit becomes hard and brittle when ripe. Ricinus communis fruit is usually segmented, typically ectoderm. Some castor varieties produce capsules with basic spines. Some varieties are prickly capsules that are soft, elastic, and non-irritating, while others produce prickly irritating capsules. Racemes can be cylindrical or oval, with different arrangements of capsules. The capsule arrangement can be compact, semi-compact, or loose. Capsules may vary in color from light green to burgundy. The period from seedling emergence to capsule maturity varies by genotype. From 120 to 150 days. The higher the temperature, the shorter the ripening days, and vice versa. The lowest-flowering racemes mature first, and the others proceed to the stem. The ripening of the fruit on the raceme is uneven, and in wild varieties, the time between the first and last ripe fruit can be several weeks. Some varieties have capsules that shatter as they ripen, while others do not. In some cases, the entire capsule is dropped from the dried raceme and the seed remains closed.

 II. Effects of the castor cultivation on the soil

Castor beans can generally be divided into tall and short genotypes. Tall genotypes have large, well-developed taproots and numerous lateral and secondary roots. Castor root is its key characteristic; needs to be strong; 40-50 cm deep. Castor's well-developed root system enables the plant to maximize soil moisture utilization, which is a major factor in plant drought resistance. The strong correlation between the root system to yield is that it allows crops to absorb enough nutrients and water to properly accumulate biomass. Loose soil favors root development, which in turn helps increase yields. Because castor oil allows compacted soil management, there are potential yield benefits for subsequent crops in the same area (Kaiima, 2013).

Castor can grow and yield in marginal & poor soils better than most crops but, to achieve high & profitable yields, high content of sand and organic matter is beneficial to castor.

Many experiences have shown that castor is an excellent crop before cereals and maize, contributing to an increase in yield. Some research shows that castor acts as a nematocide (Meloidogyne spp.), therefore it can be very beneficial as a rotation crop in fields that are known to be infested with nematodes, before sowing crops that are sensitive to nematodes. Other works have shown that the content of N:P: K in the vegetative residues that are incorporated into the soil after the crop is very high. In addition, for purposes of weed control, it is recommended to use a crop rotation with crops of different types that need herbicides different from castor herbicides to eliminate castor volunteer plants in the following season. Another reason for crop rotation is to prevent a build-up of pests populations and diseases due to the continuous growth of the same crop (Severino et al., 2006; Soratto et al., 2011; Baldwin and Cossar, 2009; Santos et al., 2001; Silva et al., 2010; Lakshmi et al., 2010; Zucchini et al., 2010a, b).

Castor has a long history as an ornamental plant (Murin, 1993; Zoltan et al., 2006; Coscione et al., 2009; Krenzelok, 2009) due to its large leaves, fast growth, drought tolerance, and diverse stem and fruit colors Sex, this plant is a landscape plant.

 Castor beans grow and yield better than most crops in poor soils. However, for high yields and high yields, land with high sand and organic matter content is beneficial to the Castor (Murin, 1993; Coopman et al., 2009; Krenzelok, 2009).

Castor is an excellent crop before cereals and maize, helping to increase yields. Castor can be used as a nematicide (Meloidogyne spp.). It is therefore very beneficial as a rotation crop in fields known to be infested with nematodes. The plant residues that enter the soil after the crop is harvested have very high levels of N:P: K. Without weed control, it is recommended to rotate crops with different types of crops that require herbicides other than castor herbicides to eliminate castor volunteers the following season. Another reason for crop rotation is to prevent the accumulation of pest populations and diseases due to the continuous growth of the same crop. (Severino et al., 2006; Soratto et al., 2011; Baldwin and Cossar, 2009; Santos et al., 2001; Silva et al., 2010; Lakshmi et al., 2010; Severino et al., 2010).,

Castor can be the plant of choice for remediation of heavy metal-contaminated soils because it is tolerant to many types of heavy metals and is not produced as food. Castor is a hyperaccumulator of lead (Romeiro et al., 2006; Liu et al., 2008), highly enriched for Ni (Sherene, 2009), and moderately tolerant to cadmium (Shi and Cai, 2009 year). Castor also grows well in soils high in zinc (Shi and Cai, 2010). High doses of Ba and As do not inhibit the growth of castor, but these elements do not accumulate in the vegetative tissue of castor (Coscione and Berton, 2009; Melo et al., 2009).

Castor meal as organic fertilizer. As an organic fertilizer, castor meal has the advantages of high nitrogen content, fast mineralization, and nematode resistance. Mineralized castor meal was evaluated to be 7 times faster than cow dung and 15 times faster than bagasse. Castor meal promotes the growth of wheat and castor plants. (Lima et al., 2011). Castor bark can also be used as an organic fertilizer but must be mixed with N-rich organic material to provide a better nutrient balance for plant growth (Lima et al., 2011).

 

III. Is castor an invasive plant in Eswatini?

In the information of the National Museum of Natural History (National Museum of Natural History, 2022), Castor beans are introduced as follows: “Ricinus communis (Castor beans) is a species of shrub in the family Euphorbiaceae. They have a self-supporting growth form. They are associated with freshwater habitats. They are native to Nigeria, Afghanistan, Botswana, Angola, Hungary, Algeria, Benin, Morocco, Syria, Iran, Israel, Egypt, Lesotho, Jordan, Kenya, Swaziland, Ethiopia, Pakistan, South Africa, and Turkey. They have simple, broad leaves. Flowers are visited by hummingbirds and Halictus lucidipennis. Individuals can grow to 3.4 m.”

In their record, the castor beans are a native plant in Eswatini (Swaziland) and Lesotho. This plant is not an invasive plant for Eswatini.

In the research paper studied by Professor Lwenje, Department of Chemistry, Swaziland Univ., Kwaluseni, Eswatini (1996), titled ” Some properties of castor oil produced from castor plants growing in Swaziland.”, the professor used the native castor to study the oil properties. In other words, the castor have been cultivated and harvested before 1996. That is, castor plants are not invasive plants in Eswatini.

Between 1999 to 2004, Loffler, L., and Loffler, P. performed a “The Swaziland Tree Atlas project”. This project included field visits, data collection, and data processing. In their report, Castor Oil was found widespread throughout most of the Eswatini area and common to abundant. The general use is that leaves are used to treat open wounds and the fruit is used for the oil (Loffler, L. and Loffler, P. 2005).

According to the definition of an invasive plant (Ligenfelter, 2009; Lambertini et al., 2011; Maema et al., 2016), the characteristics of an invasive plant are listed as follows: Abundant seed production, rapid establishment, high dispersal ability, seed dormancy, long-term survival of buried seeds, adaptation to spread, presence of vegetative reproductive structure, and ability to occupy sites disturbed by human activities. Castor did not correspond with these criteria, so this plant shall not be recognized as an invasive plant

Invasive species are defined as "plant species that are distributed, intentionally or unintentionally, outside their native area, without the environment in which they evolved, with the potential to cause damage to the environment and without natural enemies that might prevent their spread. According to this definition, castor oil plants do not qualify as invasive species. For example, the maize, sorghum, rice, beans, cowpea, groundnut, and sugarcane (native to New Guinea) introduced into Eswatini can be recognized as invasive plant species. Maize originated in Mexico. Even the delicacy of Eswatini, ligusha (Corchorus olitorius L), originated in China. However, these crops are not classified as invasive species. Castor beans contain ricin, which is poisonous and Cassava contains hydrocyanic acid, which is more deadly than castor beans. However, is Cassava a staple food for millions of people in Africa, Latin America, and Asia?

 

IV. Are the stems and leaves of castor beans poisonous to livestock?

Poisoning due to ingestion of castor leaves or seeds is rare, according to a survey of potentially poisonous plants in Brazil's semi-arid regions. The assessment was conducted through interviews with farmers covering an area of 12,500 square kilometers and 451,000 animals (cattle, sheep, goats, and horses). Wild castor plant is common. There are few reports of ricin poisoning, and it occurs only in cattle. In one case, 15 cattle from a herd of 180 were poisoned after grazing in an area with castor plants and showed symptoms of ricin ingestion. All the poisoned cattle recovered and did not die. In another case, 2 cattle in a herd of 30 died from symptoms of ricin poisoning, and large amounts of Ricinus communis were found in the rumen of both animals (Silva et al., 2006; Assis et al., 2009). Six farmers reported that they were successfully feeding their cattle with castor leaves by gradually increasing their consumption (Silva et al., 2006).

According to Professor Guosheng Hu (personal communication, Mar. 30, 2022), herbivores such as cattle and sheep generally do not eat castor leaves, because castor leaves have a special taste and texture, which herbivores do not like.

 In the case of extreme hunger and no other food source, animals eat a small amount, which can lubricate the intestines and help animals digest. So herbivores such as cattle and sheep will not be poisoned and die after being eaten by mistake.

The castor plant can be used to produce honey. There are nectaries in the petioles of castor beans, which are often eaten by bees. When bees swarmed the castor fields, the hive normally produced 18.8 kg of honey over 49 days, 80% of which was made from castor nectar (Milfont et al., 2009). Castor pollen has also been found in Indian honey (Paliwal et al., 2009).

Krochmal (2018) reported that castor (Ricinus Communis) is a good bee plant. Bees can easily find and eat the fine castor flower easily, which produces large quantities of yellow pollen. Pollen makes up more than 10% of a bee's diet and provides honey when enough plants are available. Extrafloral nectaries are located at the base of leaves and partly on petioles and stems. Bees also collect nectar from young seed pods. So castor is some source of honeydew.

According to Linne International Trade Co (personal communication, Feb. 22, 2022), Castor beans were planted in several areas of Eswatini, cattle and sheep were eaten leaves and stem without dying, and workers in the factory were safe, and no sick

From this information, the castor plant is the source to produce honey. The effect of the castor leaves on the livestock depends on the number of leaves that they took. A successful record is found for feeding cattle with castor leaves by gradually increasing their consumption.

 

V. What is the effect of castor feed on livestock?

The degree of the poisoning depends upon the amount ingested and the age and general health of the individual. There are numerous documented cases of ricin poisoning and death when horses, livestock, and poultry accidentally ate castor seeds or meals (Worbs et al., 2011; Akande et al., 2016).

The presence of toxic components in castor seeds, including ricin and the alkaloid ricinoleic, has been a concern in handling castor seeds, meal, or oil mills. The most notorious ingredient is ricin seeds, it is a deadly poison found in abundance in seeds. However, less abundant in the rest of the plant (Salihu et al., 2012).

Poisoning occurs when animals took broken seeds or chew seeds. Whole seeds can pass through the digestive tract without releasing ricin. Commercially available cold-pressed castor oil is not toxic to the human body either internally or externally at normal doses (Salihu et al., 2012).

Growers of castor as an ornamental both indoors and outdoors may remove it from the plant as it emerges in flower clusters, so no seeds are produced, thus minimizing the risk of accidental poisoning (Zoltan et al., 2006).

Ani and Okorie (2009) reported that the castor meal and husk are used for animal feed: Detoxified castor meal can be used as feed. The detoxification of castor meal is performed by boiling and then adding up to 100g/kg in broiler finishing feeds without deleterious effects. Pompeu (2009) introduced the castor meal detoxified by autoclaving with higher air pressure and temperature can replace up to 67% of the soybean meal in sheep.

As the hay was completely replaced with castor husks, castor husks containing a large number of seed fragments (60 g/kg) were evaluated for feeding dairy goats. The content in milk decreased (27%), but the lipid concentration increased (28%). Castor husks have not undergone any detoxification process and no signs of toxicity have been observed (Santos et al., 2001).

Castor seeds have various advantages such as wide distribution, eco-friendliness, high oil yield, medicinal properties, and nutrient density. In addition to being used as bioenergy and industrial feedstock, it also has great future potential as farm animal feed. But castor meal detoxification is still an allergenic factor, which, while not causing problems in animal feed, may cause allergic reactions in humans during processing. It is therefore recommended to use a protective kit when handling castor beans. The literature shows that elevated pH, high temperature, and the activity of certain microorganisms greatly aid in the detoxification of castor oil. The use of free amino acids as a preventive measure in allergen-exposed individuals is under investigation.

The use of breeding technology to develop low-toxicity castor varieties will promote the application of castor meals in animal rations. Additional precautions for processors include vaccination and active surveillance, and prevention of misuse in humans. A more concerted effort is needed to prepare safe and acceptable castor meals for the feed industry.

A study by Montao et al. (2018) describes the epidemiological, clinical, and pathological aspects observed in an outbreak of accidental poisoning of castor cake in horses. The diagnosis of castor cake poisoning in horses is based on clinically and pathologically supported indirect evidence of by-product consumption. The results showed that castor cake, which is marketed as a fertilizer, is highly toxic when ingested by horses, and therefore requires proper detoxification or labeling to indicate its toxicity.

Ukachukwu et al. (2011) executed the experiment to determine the acute toxicity of raw castor oil bean (Ricinus communis) extract and the tolerance level of raw castor oil bean on broilers. The extract volume equivalents of six doses (0 -24 g/kg) and then given by oral drenching to thirty 6-week-old broilers (live weight of 500-600 g). Their result indicated that the tolerance level of broiler birds for raw Ricinus communis is about 4000 parts per million or 4 g of seed per kg body weight.

Aslania et al. (2007) described the findings of intoxicated sheep with castor beans in the clinical, laboratory, and pathological methods.

Oso et al. (2011) observed the effect of fermented castor oil seed (FCSM) meal in the diets of 160-day-old chicks of the Nera strain. The criteria are performance, nutrient digestibilities, hematology, and carcass yield, which were assessed for 56 days’ feeds. FCSM could successfully be included in chick starter diets at 50 g/kg inclusion.

To study the risks associated with Castor beans (Ricinus communis L.) meal in animal feeding systems, many research efforts have been devoted to developing more sensitive methods for the detection of ricin in castor powder, food, and biological samples. Methods of survival based on exposure of animals to different doses have been the first criterion for the detection of ricin (Godal et al., 1984; He et al., 2010a). However, live animal testing cannot be performed in most laboratories because it is expensive, time-consuming, requires special animal care facilities, and cannot handle large numbers of samples. The accuracy of live animal experiments has also been questioned because its LD50 values are affected by factors such as animal species, injection route, observation time, age, sex, and rearing conditions (Godal et al., 1984; Zhan and Zhou, 2003; He et al., 2010a).

Case reports from Europe, the Americas, and Asia describe livestock poisoning after ingestion of organic fertilizers containing castor cake. This problem comes from a problem with the detoxification process itself, which can leave residual active ricin in the pressed cake. Therefore there is a need to standardize the interpretation process and implement it.

From the above discussion, inconsistent reports are found. However, the doses of Castor beans (Ricinus communis L.) are the key for feed or poison.

 

VI. Is castor poisonous to humans?

Humans and other animals have been poisoned by ingesting broken castor beans or by chewing on the seeds (Gana et al., 2013). Whole seeds pass through the digestive tract without releasing toxins. This toxin provides a degree of natural protection to the castor oil plant from pests. . Castor oil is a source of undecylenic acid, a natural fungicide. The potential use of ricin as a pesticide is under investigation. (Anonymous, 2019; Wikipedia, 2022)

Castor contains ricin, one of the known toxic substances. Medical findings may cause acute and potentially fatal gastroenteritis. Its prolonged toxicity is dose-related and depends on the number of castor beans ingested. The toxicity of the seeds depends on the dose and how they are eaten. Swallowing is not as deadly as chewing and can be fatal to humans after swallowing 5 to 30 seeds, and if swallowed without chewing, humans have a survival rate of up to 98%. There is no specific treatment, and supportive management needs to be started early to reduce the toxin load to avoid serious complications. (Al-Tamimi and Hegazi, 2008; Harkup, 2018).

The case of two girls with castor beans poisoning was reported (El koraichi, 2012). Audi et al. (2005) commended that most cases of Ricin poisoning are intentional acts. Eating natural castor beans is a mistake.

In the Ricin Information Sheet, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office (2019) introduced that the trashing castor beans are the easiest crude way to make ricin. Heavy exposure to castor beans is not dangerous and unlikely to cause serious illness or death. Concentrated Castor beans, this product requires certain processing methods. Highly refined Ricin This product requires the most complex and destructive preparation methods. Highly refined products are extremely rare because they require a lot of manpower and technology to make. The production of highly refined and concentrated castor beans products requires a large number of castor bean raw materials, so it is impossible to go unnoticed.

Most cases of ricin poisoning in humans have occurred in the consumption of raw seeds. But animal cases have also occurred after ingestion of processed castor seed products. After the castor seeds are pressed for oil, the compressed cake of the seeds is full of egg whites. After detoxification, it can be used as organic fertilizer, soil conditioner, or as an inexpensive additive in animal feed (Worbs et al., 2011).

To avoid these mistakes, Kaiima company proposes these measures of caution technique to keep the safety of workers,

1. Keep castor seeds out of reach of children & domestic or farm animals.

2. Use gloves when dealing with castor seeds.

3. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after dealing with castor seeds.

4. Keep farm animals out of the castor fields and processing areas.

5. Inform people, who may come in contact with castor seeds, of the hazards involved.

The company emphasizes that the seed coat of the castor seed contains the toxin ricin, which can be harmful if swallowed. Therefore these measures should be applied strictly:

Liked as cassava root and some edible plants, the ricin in castor beans seed is poisonous. However, People living in West Africa, Latin America, and some Asian countries know how to treatment t cassava root for food to avoid eating its poisonous

The wild castor beans which grow under stress could produce more secondary metabolites, hence more poisonous and more deadly. However, the commercial crops are not the original varieties. These crops are not cultivated for food.

Cases of accidental chewing of castor seeds caused poisoning have been reported occasionally, but compared with the annual cases of people accidentally ingesting drug pills or taking too many drug pills, the problem of castor seeds is insignificant. People don't prohibit taking drug pills because of this.

 

VII. The carbon foot of castor

If carbon trading is considered, what is the capacity of one hectare of castor to fix CO2?

In the comment of Eco-Business (2022) on carbon capture, the special and unintended but so important advantage to a castor beans planting is that these plants can absorb a lot of carbon dioxide, thereby they reduce exactly the greenhouse gas accumulations in the atmosphere. The estimated carbon dioxide absorption level of castor beans plants is 34.6 tons/ha. So it offers this avenue for revenue in the form of carbon tax credits.

Of all the oily plants currently grown for the production of industrial vegetable oils, castor should be a good candidate for future investment (Pari et al., 2020). Because of its good high yield, insect resistance, drought tolerance, and suitability for marginal land cultivation. The production of castor oil from castor oil produces large quantities of press cakes, husks, and crop residues that can be processed as by-products for different purposes. Within the framework of the bioeconomy, there is a great contribution. In this study method, castor oil produced from two different castor hybrids was evaluated for environmental impact results and economic viability, and four by-product management options and two harvesting systems, manual versus mechanical, were compared. The hand-harvested castor hybrids involve only the press cake obtained by extraction and the results are the most sustainable. Using the ratio of gross profit to GWP emissions to calculate economic performance per unit of environmental burden (gross profit) The findings show that in the case of hybrids there is a better relationship between economic performance and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere rate (3.75 per kg CO2 equivalent) In fact, in a low-inputs system the emission was 878 kg CO2 eq.; under high-inputs management, it reached 1210 kg CO2 eq. (Pari et al., 2020).

A comparative study of the effects of high input or low input on the growth of castor was carried out. This study aimed to assess these effects under Mediterranean climate and agricultural conditions by examining two alternative scenarios. Castor oil, found on the fringes of the Mediterranean region, is a candidate crop for biomass energy (Falasca et al, 2012). Can be grown with minimal resources to provide unique industrial chemicals or as an energy crop. Planting with intensive inputs allows for higher yields. Whether two options, high or low input, are more sustainable depends on the economic and environmental impact of each situation. This study, therefore, assesses these effects under Mediterranean climate and agricultural conditions by examining two alternative scenarios. Estimate environmental impact by following a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach based on greenhouse gas emissions (Pari et al., 2021). And a sensitivity analysis was performed by switching functional units from 1 mg castor oil to 1 ha (Giray and Catal, 2021). The economic viability of castor crop production is assessed by calculating the gross profit margin, which is the difference between revenue and variable costs at the agricultural stage. The economic performance (gross margin) per unit of environmental burden is calculated using the ratio of gross margin to GWP (Global Warming Potential) emissions. The findings suggest that castor oil produced with high input yields higher yields than castor oil produced with low input, thus leading to a more sustainable scenario. Sensitivity analysis showed that low-input on-site management showed 27% lower GHG emissions than high-input on-site management. 

From an economic standpoint, gross margin increased by approximately 73% by shifting field management from low to high inputs. The high-input scenario shows the optimal ratio between economic performance and greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

The ratio between the economic performance of the input scenarios and the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is used as an evaluation indicator. The high input scenario is EUR 1.14 per kg CO2 eq, while the low input scenario is EUR 0.14 per kg CO2 eq. The results of these assessments are affected by yield differences. Similar results were obtained by performing a sensitivity analysis by converting functional units from 1 mg oil to 1 hectare. The high input scenario has a better economic performance to the ratio of GHG emissions to the atmosphere (0.30 per kg CO2e) (Pari et al., 2022).

The results of the study in Ecuador (Penabad et al., 20196) show the benefits of castor oil's use as a biofuel, as a renewable energy source in Ecuador, and the economic viability of its production. Key considerations for each step of the castor business plan, with added emphasis on environmental and financial processes. The required considerations include 19 intermediate-level impact categories and 4 final environmental-level impact categories. It was found that oil production for biofuels has a very small weighted impact on the environment: 9.74%, thus proving that the castor oil plant is an environmentally friendly biomass energy substance.

The 19 activities of the life cycle of the production of castor oil plant oil considered are (Rodríguez-Goyoset al., 2009, 2014; Pérez, 2013; Penabad et al., 2019):

Preliminary step:

1- Determine the land (location, characteristics, rainfall)

2- Buy and purchase implements and machines –for agricultural work

3- Buy and acquire seeds, tools, and equipment, oil extraction labor

Agricultural step:

4- Preparation and attention of the soil, agronomic techniques, and phytosanitary

5- Planting: sowing, watering, germinating

6- Fertilizing (nutrients - substrate)

7- Applying chemical pesticides and pesticides

8- Cultural work: pruning and weeding

9- Picking the fruit

10- Transporting the fruit

Industrial process step:

11- Peeling the fruit

12- Obtaining the co-products, cake, glycerol, etc.

13- Pressing the seeds - extracting the oil

14- Refining the oil

15- Storing and packaging the oil and co-products

16- Distribution and use of oil and co-products

17- Uninstalling the ecosystem

Recycling step:

18- Waste treatment generated by the uninstallation

19- Reuse, recycle or recover debris from the uninstallation

 

In the report of the SEA Castor Sustainability Effort Project 2021-22, Vyas et al. (2022) mention the impact on the Indian castor industry through government investment in training: Establishment of castor demonstration farms to promote the adoption of good agronomic practices, training and talent development, capacity enhancement and behavior change communication, promote sustainable and environmentally friendly operations, reduce chemical use, improve water efficiency and water conservation, etc. Its demonstration model farmers have expanded from 68 (2017) to 408 (2021). Farmers who adopt the project's best practices can increase their productivity and the country's overall castor seed production. Integrated castor farm sustainability, better social, environmental, and economic performance.

Sun (2022) described that bio-based materials are derived from natural biomass energy and illustrated so many advantages such as carbon emission reduction and renewable. Almost all industrial materials made from petrochemical resources can be replaced by biobased materials. As sustainable development has gradually become the consensus and the focus of all countries, bio-based materials, such as castor oil will usher in vigorous development, its future is coming.

Lamy (2022) emphasized that replacing oil-based high-performance plastics with sustainable biological feedstocks is one of the main goals of the chemical industry. Castor oil is a renewable biological raw material. It is a suitable replacement for oil-based polymers without compromising material properties.

To assist in the management of the crop so no castor beans are planted to avoid any cross-pollination, the guide of assist in the management of the crop (Rômulo, 2012; Linne Co. 2021) has been established.

A. Basic facilities

 1. Establish a 3-5 m wide strip as a buffer zone without any castor plants to avoid any cross-pollination.

 2. There are security guards at the gate at the entrance of the farm, who have the right to deny access to the ministry

 3. Registration of persons entering and leaving the farm

 4. Educate staff about the castor crop, especially regarding it is not an edible legume.

B. Establish Standard Operating Procedures

 1. Proper seedbed preparation will be maintained for rapid and even emergence.

 2. High-quality seeds about vigour, purity, and vigour will be used

 3. Correct planting procedures and application of plants

 4. Weed control to prevent plant competition and prevent weeds from breeding pests and diseases

 5. Fertilize correctly

 6. Pruning to get the desired number of branches

 7. Timely irrigation to improve overall growth and increase oil content

 8. Pest management

 9. Harvest in time to avoid seed breakage and lead to seed dispersal

 10. Ensure no seeds are lost during transportation from farm to the factory for processing

 11. Proper threshing, sorting, and bagging

C. Implement farm and factory hygiene

 12. Keep out of reach of children and livestock.

D. Regularly inspect the factory site

 13. The plants did not cause any harm to humans or animals or the environment.

 

VIII. Conclusion

Castor is an economic crop in major countries in the world. India is the leading country, followed by China. The main producers in Africa are Ethiopia, South Africa, and Angola. The castor plant is grown to extract the oil from the seeds. Regarding castor, there is some controversy. They are 1. Was castor planted, and was there any poisoning or other effects on the soil? 2. Are the stems and leaves of castor beans poisonous to livestock? 3. What effect does castor beans feed have on livestock? 4. Is castor poisonous to humans? 5. If carbon trading is considered, what is the capacity of one hectare of castor to fix carbon dioxide?

In this small review study, these controversies are discussed and surveys and literature are presented.

Castor beans grow and yield better than most crops in poor and infertile soils, but to achieve high and profitable yields, fertilization and irrigation are important. It is therefore very beneficial as a rotation crop in fields known to be infested with nematodes. Plant residues that enter the soil after crops are harvested have very high levels of N:P: K. Castor can be the plant of choice for remediation of heavy metal-contaminated soils. Considering the criteria for an invasive plant, castor oil does not meet these criteria, so the plant should not be considered an invasive plant.

Poisoning from consuming castor leaves or seeds is rare. Castor is the source of honey production. The effects of castor leaves on livestock depend on the number of leaves they eat. By gradually increasing the consumption of castor leaves, cattle have been successfully raised.

Poisoning occurs when animals eat broken seeds or chew seeds. Whole seeds can pass through the digestive tract without releasing ricin. Commercially available cold-pressed castor oil is non-toxic to humans for oral or external use at normal doses

These inconsistent reports of animal poisoning were found. However, the dose of castor (Ricinus communis L.) is critical for feed or toxicity. Humans and other animals are poisoned by eating broken castor beans or chewing the seeds. The whole seed passes through the digestive tract without releasing toxins. To avoid these mistakes, some careful techniques to keep workers safe need to be implemented.

Castor can absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide, thereby reducing the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide uptake level of the castor plant was estimated to be 34.6 t/ha. As such, it provides this revenue pathway in the form of carbon tax credits. With proper training, farmers can increase their productivity and the country's overall castor seed production. Integrated castor farm sustainability, better social, environmental, and economic performance.

The guide of assist in the management of the crop is proposed to assist in the management of the crop so no castor beans are planted to avoid any cross-pollination.

 

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