Editor: John W. Cherwonogrodzky

Ricin Toxin

Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $119
Printed Copy: US $119
ISBN: 978-1-60805-879-2 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-878-5 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2014
DOI: 10.2174/97816080587851140101


`Ricin Toxin’ brings together a collection of in depth and cutting edge reviews that focus on the current understanding of ricin toxins. This e-book provides a historical background, innovations in detection, identification and medical countermeasures against this biothreat, and the toxin’s previous use as an anti-cancer agent.

This e-book answers various important questions such as detection of ricin in food or soil, making of humanized antibody against the toxin, novel approaches for the creation of a safe vaccine to protect first responders, exploitation of toxin`s ability to bind and penetrate cells for medical benefits, aftereffects of administering antibody against ricin to a first responder and their exposure to the toxin, neutralization of different ricin from different castor plant cultivars. Aside from learning key concepts that may be overlooked while scanning literature, the reader will benefit from gems of information scattered throughout the book.

The book comprises of five different parts. The first part covers the background of ricin from pharaohs to bioterrorists and beyond.

The second part covers the discovery of recent technologies which are very helpful for the detection of ricin in different matrices, followed by the detection of ricin in the sorption of soils, minerals,textiles, and food; soil inflatration and dust transport. The third part covers the ricin and castor plant cultivars. It also discusses the antibody therapies such as Polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies and the extraction of ricin toxin from several cultivars of the Castor Plant (Ricinus communis).

The fourth part of this e-book discusses different medical countermeasures which are very effective in enhancing the progress in the development of vaccines against ricin intoxication. This part also describes different methods employed for the improvement of anti-ricin antibodies.

The last part of this book describes the replacement and different applications of the toxin. All chapters are written by paramount experts in ricin research.

`Ricin Toxin’ is an essential reading to all medical students, biochemists and professionals involved in the field of toxicology.

Indexed in: Book Citation Index, Science Edition, BIOSIS Previews, EBSCO.


This book focuses on the wide range of subjects needed to beat the biological threat of ricin, beginning with background information (Chapter 1) followed by toxin detection (Chapters 2, 3). “If you know your enemies, you will not be imperiled” (Sun Zi, 544-496 BC). This then leads to reducing the threat by creating cultivars that have greatly reduced amounts of toxin (Chapter 4) or generic antibody therapies that neutralize the toxin regardless of its cultivar source (Chapter 5). This in turn leads into not one but several breakthroughs in medical countermeasures against the toxin, be it vaccines (Chapter 6), antibodies (Chapters 7-9) or repurposing abandoned drugs to find an antidote (Chapter 10). The book ends on a positive note, developing antisera against the toxin without using the toxin but instead using a harmless genetically engineered toxoid (Chapter 11). It finishes with ricin’s past benefits as an anti-cancer drug (Chapter 12) so as not to lose sight of opportunities to “beat swords into ploughshares”.

All of the authors were selected for their expertise and fresh approaches to defeating the threat of ricin. This book is not intended to be a comprehensive textbook on the subject of ricin. Indeed, some topics may have to be addressed in another volume (e.g. regulations, emergency responses, forensics, histology and immunity). Regardless, the selected contributions show how innovative “out of the box” scientific-based thinking can shift the bio-threat advantage away from those who wish to intentionally cause harm. Novel methods and discoveries have advanced rapid toxin detection and identification, protection of first responders and military forces by vaccines, rescuing casualties by neutralizing antibodies or repurposed drugs, and possibly frustrating the terrorist should they prepare a useless extract from cultivars that no longer express the toxin. We do not have these measures in place yet, but the book does show how investments in research have paid off towards achieving these goals. With additional support for development and regulatory approvals of these discoveries, the ricin threat can be mitigated.

This book took longer to compile than anticipated. It would not have been possible to complete without the authors, and especially the staff at Bentham Science Publishers, giving their continuous support. Their patience, enthusiasm and encouragement were a greatly appreciated source of strength during its extended preparation. Perhaps of greater importance, than the book and its many contributions, were the remarkable people that formed a unique collaborative team to make it happen.

John W. Cherwonogrodzky
BioThreat Defence Section
Defence Research and Development Canada
(DRDC), Suffield Research Centre
Ralston, Alberta


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