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Methods to Characterize Ricin for the Development of Reference Materials



Sung Kim, Diane K. Hancock, Lili Wang, Kenneth D. Cole, Prasad T. Reddy


Ricin is an abundant protein from the castor bean plant Ricinus communis. Because of its high toxicity and the simplicity of producing mass quantities, ricin is considered a biological terrorism agent. We have characterized ricin extensively with a view to develop Reference Materials that could be used to test and calibrate detection devices. The characterization of ricin includes: 1) purity test of a commercial batch of ricin using electrophoresis in polyacrylamide gels, 2) biological activity assay by measuring its ability to inhibit protein synthesis, 3) quantitation of protein concentration by amino acid analysis, 4) detection of ricin by an immunoassay using a flow cytometer, and 5) detection of ricin genomic DNA by polymerase chain reaction using nine different primer sets.
Journal of Research (NIST JRES) -


bioterrorism agent, castor bean plant, reference material, ricin toxin


Kim, S. , Hancock, D. , Wang, L. , Cole, K. and Reddy, P. (2006), Methods to Characterize Ricin for the Development of Reference Materials, Journal of Research (NIST JRES), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed July 20, 2024)


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Created June 30, 2006, Updated October 12, 2021