Castor oil is a vegetable oil obtained by pressing the seeds of the plant Ricinus Communis, also known as castor oil plant. Castor oil is colourless to pale yellow with a distinct taste and odor. Castor oil consist of 85-95% Ricinoleic acid, 2-6% oleic acid, 1-5% linoleic acid, 0.5-1% alpha-linolenic acid, 0.5-1% stearic acid, 0.5-1% palmitic acid, 0.3-0.5% dihydroxystearic acid.
Castor oil and its derivatives are used in the manufacturing of soaps, lubricants, hydraulic and brake fluids, pains, dyes, coatings, inks, cold resistant plastics, waxes, pharmaceuticals and perfumes.
Castor oil can be extracted from castor seeds by mechanical pressing, solvent extraction or combination of both. After harvesting, the seeds are dried so that the hull will split open. The hull is removed from the seed mechanically or manually. The seeds are then cleaned before being heated to harden the interior of the seed for extraction. Finally, the seeds are dried before being crushed to remove the oil.
Castor oil is used in food additives, flavorings, candy, as a mold inhibitor and as a mold inhibitor. It is used to preserve food grains such as rice, wheat and pulses from rotting.
Castor oil is used in many drugs, including antifungal agent, inhibitor used in cancer chemotherapy, immunosuppressant drug used in organ transplant and HIV protease inhibitors.