Researchers at the Federla University of Rio Grande do Sul Brazil, intend to begin development of genetically modified varieties of castor bean before the end of 2005. Following the sequencing of the castor bean genome, the aim is to develop plants able to absorb heavy metals from the soil such as cadmium, lead and copper – for bioremediation purposes.
According to the researchers, castor is able to accumulate around 0.25 g of metal per kilogramme of dried plan matter. By inserting genes from other species, they hope to elevate this level yet further.
Another aim of the research is to ensure the plants will be able to produce castor oil without heavy metal contamination.
Source: oleoline.com Oct. 19, 2005.