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Castor-oil plant is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family which is a kind of perennial woody herbaceous plant. It originated from Egypt, Ethiopia and India. Subsequently it was spread to Brazil, Thailand, Argentina and United States of America etc. The castor planted in China came from India and has a history of more than  1400 years. At the beginning of 20th Century, the growing aviation industry needs such lubricating oil that doesn?°•t freeze , so castor was extensively developed in a short time and as one of the world's top ten oil crops, castor was widely cultivated as the field crop. At present, the largest castor producer is India, followed by China, Brazil and Thailand.
Castor leaves are nutritious which can feed eri silkworms; Castor stems are good raw material to make paper, medium density board and active carbon; Castor meal is high protein feed after detoxication, it also can be used as biological pest control agents to control farmland underground pests after drying and crushing; Castor roots contain ricinine and ricin which can be used as biological pest control agents too.
The oil content of castor seeds reaches up to 46-56%, generally 2.2-2.5 kg seeds can produce 1 kg oil, other oil crops are not able to compare with it. Castor oil has many characteristics such as high viscosity,high specific weight, low solidifying point (-18????and high burning point (500-600??),so castor becomes the only raw material to produce ricinoleic acid.Most products made from petroleum can be made through ricinoleic acid deep processing, so castor is looked as the reproducible ?°„petroleum?°ņ resource. With the rapid development of the aviation industry and the chemical industry, castor oil has been widely used as advanced lubricants, brake oil and preservative oil in aviation and precise instrument fields, it also has had more and more application in defense, chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries etc. The synthetical resin particle Nylon 11 is a popular product in current world market, it is made from castor oil and has been widely used in such industries as automobile, ships, machine tool, construction, war industry and medical attendance etc. Industrial developed regions and countries such as USA and Western Europe have produced up to 3000 derivatives from castor oil,  Formic ester and butyl ester made through esterification are the main material to produce lubricating agent, plastics, cosmetics and cleaning solvent. Among castor oil fatty acid component, 90% is ricinic acid, it can produce health salad oil after detoxification treatment. Castor meal can be used as fertilizer, after detoxification treatment it also can be used as feed.
Only by means of estimating of the wide application trend of high strength insulating materials Nylon, the world castor oil demand in 2010 will reach up to 800000-1000000 tons, equivalent to castor beans 1900000-2400000 tons. There are hundreds of castor oil factories in China among which 20 ones are big and middle sized, the annual castor beans demand is more than 800000 tons, but the actual total castor production is only about 250000 tons, there is a big difference of quantity between supply and demand. The domestic castor oil demand increased greatly, 70% need to be imported. Because of the acute shortage of castor beans, 70% of castor oil factories in China had to shut down or partly shut down
In China, the castor distribution has no obvious boundaries, castor is planted in wide regions from southern Hainan island to northern Heilongjiang province. The most widely planting areas are Yellow River Valley and Yangtze River valley. Castor has many outstanding characteristics such as drought- enduring, barrenness-enduring, saline-alkali-enduring, strong adaptability, simple management, low investment and high economic benefits etc., so it becomes the preferred crop of dry land cultivation and barren dryland development.