I am doing some experimentation with Ricinus communis, which I know contains the toxin Ricin. Through my own experience and research I am not concerned with interacting with the plant or touching it. Do I need to worry about a build-up of toxicity in my soil?

I have tried to research the topic, but my knowledge of chemistry isn't enough to be able to understand the information I am getting back. This chemical formulation should just decompose back into available non-toxic organic matter, right?

  • Is there something you would like me to add to my answer?
    – J. Musser
    Feb 11, 2015 at 16:31

1 Answer 1


Yes, it will break down. The toxin ricin is a type of protein called a lectin, which is disabled by carbohydrates, specifically mono- and oligosaccharides. And even if there is some in your soil, don't worry. Plants don't uptake protein (second source) through their roots, so you won't have to worry if you grow food crops in the same area you are growing castor beans.

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