Of Beans and Beads: Ricin and Abrin in Bioterrorism and Biocrime
- *Corresponding Author:
- Dr. Leonard A. Smith
Senior Research Scientist (ST) for Medical Countermeasures Technology
Office of Chief Scientist, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases
Frederick, MD 21702 USA
Email: [email protected]
Received Date: November 23, 2011; Accepted Date: January 18, 2012; Published Date: January 23, 2012
Citation: Roxas-Duncan VI, Smith LA (2012) Of Beans and Beads: Ricin and Abrin in Bioterrorism and Biocrime. J Bioterr Biodef S2:002. doi: 10.4172/2157-2526.S2-002
Copyright: © 2012 Roxas-Duncan VI, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Ricin and abrin are among the most lethal plant toxins known to humans. Even minute amounts, if effectively used, could cause considerable injury and mortality. Because of potency, stability, relative ease of production, and worldwide availability of their source plants, ricin and abrin are potential biological weapons. Ricin was also developed as an aerosol biological weapon by the U.S. and its allies during WWII, but was never used in battle. Ricin is not considered an effective weapon of mass destruction, but it has been the agent of choice in numerous biocrimes. Despite being associated with death and biological warfare, both ricin and abrin are also well known for their use in therapeutic applications and biomedical research. This article provides an overview of ricin and abrin, and their perspectives in bioterrorism and biocrime.