A potent protein toxin made from the waste left over from processing castor beans.

The castor plant, which is called Ricinus communis, is found throughout the world.

Ricin is fairly easy to extract. Worldwide a million tons of castor beans are processed

annually in the production of castor oil. The waste mash from this process is 5% ricin

by weight. The toxin (ricin) can be in the form of a powder, mist, pellet, or it can be

dissolved in water or weak acid. Ricin is quite stable and is not affected much by

extreme conditions such as very hot or very cold temperatures. Ricin is extremely toxic

by several routes of exposure. When inhaled as a small particle aerosol, this toxin can

produce pathologic changes within 8 hours and severe respiratory symptoms followed

by acute hypoxic (low oxygen) respiratory failure within 36-72 hours. When ingested,

ricin causes severe gastrointestinal symptoms followed by vascular collapse and

death. Signs and symptoms of ricin inhalation include the acute onset of fever, chest

tightness, cough, dyspnea, nausea, and arthralgia (joint pain) occurs 4 to 8 hours after

inhalational exposure. Airway necrosis and pulmonary capillary leak resulting in

pulmonary edema are likely to occur within 18-24 hours, followed by severe respiratory

distress and death from hypoxemia in 36-72 hours. Diagnosis is by antigen detection

(ELISA) in blood serum and respiratory secretions. Acute and convalescent sera

provide confirmation. Treatment is supportive. There is no vaccine or prophylactic

antitoxin. Use of a protective mask is currently the best protection against inhalation.

Ricin is not volatile. Decontamination should be done with soap and water.

Hypochlorite solutions also can inactivate ricin. Ricin's significance as a potential

biological warfare toxin relates in part to its wide availability. Ricin is feared to have a

high terrorist potential due to its ready availability, relative ease of extraction, and

notoriety via the media. The CDC has classified Ricin toxin as a Category B

bioterrorism agent.

MMLAP and other EU Projects

Health system analysis to support capacity development in response to the threat of pandemic influenza in Asia
Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change
Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation
Engaging all of Europe in shaping a desirable and sustainable future
Expect the unexpected and know how to respond
Driving innovation in crisis management for European resilience
Effective communication in outbreak management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe
Solutions to improve CBRNe resilience
Network for Communicable Disease Control in Southern Europe and Mediterranean Countries
Developing the framework for an epidemic forecast infrastructure
Strengthening of the national surveillance system for communicable diseases
Surveillance of vaccine preventable hepatitis
European monitoring of excess mortality for public health action
European network for highly infectious disease
Dedicated surveillance network for surveillance and control of vaccine preventable diseases in the EU
Modelling the spread of pandemic influenza and strategies for its containment and mitigation
Cost-effectiveness assessment of european influenza human pandemic alert and response strategies
Bridging the gap between science, stakeholders and policy makers
Promotion of immunization for health professionals in Europe
Towards inclusive research programming for sustainable food innovations
Addressing chronic diseases and healthy ageing across the life cycle
Medical ecosystem – personalized event-based surveillance
Studying the many and varied economic, social, legal and ethical aspects of the recent developments on the Internet, and their consequences for the individual and society at large
Get involved in the responsible marine research and innovation
Knowledge-based policy-making on issues involving science, technology and innovation, mainly based upon the practices in Parliamentary Technology Assessment
Assessment of the current pandemic preparedness and response tools, systems and practice at national, EU and global level in priority areas
Analysis of innovative public engagement tools and instruments for dynamic governance in the field of Science in Society
Public Engagement with Research And Research Engagement with Society
Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data
Providing infrastructure, co-ordination and integration of existing clinical research networks on epidemics and pandemics
Promote vaccinations among migrant population in Europe
Creating mechanisms for effectively tackling the scientific and technology related challenges faced by society
Improve the quality of indoor air, keeping it free from radon
Improving respect of ethics principles and laws in research and innovation, in line with the evolution of technologies and societal concerns
Investigating how cities in the West securitise against global pandemics
Creating a structured dialogue and mutual learning with citizens and urban actors by setting up National Networks in 10 countries across Europe
Identifying how children can be change agents in the Science and Society relationship
Establishing an open dialogue between stakeholders concerning synthetic biology’s potential benefits and risks
Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering effective Messages, providing Evidence