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Ricin is a protein derived from the beans of the castor plant (R communis). Castor beans are used in the production of castor oil, a brake and hydraulic fluid constituent. Ricin makes up 3% to 5% of the "waste mash" that is produced during this process. Separating out this protein is not difficult; it only requires chromatography, a common undergraduate chemistry skill.
Ferdinando L Mirarchi, DO
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