Ricin Poisoning from Phloem?
William E. Williams
WEWilliams at smcm.edu
Wed Feb 11 12:26:02 EST 2004
We're about to introduce a phloem assay using Ricinus into our
introductory biology sequence, and of course the question of toxicity
has come up. The web references I've found are somewhat
contradictory, saying on the one hand that ricin is synthesized only
in the endosperm and thus only present in the seeds, but on the other
that aphids forced to feed on the leaves die rapidly, presumably
because of ricin poisoning. Of course we'll advise the students to
wear gloves and keep hands away from their mouths and avoid
contaminating areas of skin with open sores, etc., but does anybody
have a definitive reference on how poisonous parts of the plants
other than the seeds are?
We're also having trouble getting much phloem sap. Any suggestions
about where to cut, optimal plant size, growth conditions, etc.?
William E. Williams <MailTo:WEWilliams at smcm.edu>
Saint Mary's College of Maryland
18952 E Fisher Road
Saint Marys City, MD 20686-3001
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