www.Linnaeus.net Discover how innovative plant biotechnology is being used to develop Castor oilseed crops that can substitute for petroleum-based products. Learn how Linnaeus could help to meet Kyoto protocol targets.

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Non-polluting Motor Oil in Crop Plants.
Ricin-free castor oil source seen as major benefit.

January 7, 2003 Vancouver, B.C. - Linnaeus Plant Sciences announced today an initiative directed toward developing a plant-based oil to substitute for petroleum-based motor oil.

Helping Reach Kyoto Targets
Concerns about the environment and in particular, greenhouse gases and the Kyoto Protocol are providing pressure to develop alternatives to petroleum-based products.

Linnaeus Plant Sciences Inc. holds a key part of the solution - a solution that is based on the outstanding lubricating properties of castor oil and the oil's unique applicability to a wide range of industrial applications.

Using the gene responsible for castor oil's exceptionally versatile properties, we are engineering oil seed crops that can substitute for petroleum derived products.

This source of castor oil is free from ricin, a potential source for deadly bio-terrorist weapons.

Recent research into the application of vegetable-based engine oils had turned in some startling results. At both Montana State and Pennsylvania State University results have shown that using a high oleic oil (such as that made in canola) mixed with castor oil and some long chain vegetable esters, engine emissions can be significantly reduced.

Duane Johnson at Montana State reports that using an oil produced by blending high oleic oil and castor oil, emissions in the average SUV can be reduced by almost 300lbs annually.

According to Johnson, co-director of Montana State University's Bio-based Institute, "Bio-based oils, especially blends using castor can significantly reduce greenhouse gasses as well as oxides of nitrogen which are a major cause of smog and other air pollutants."

Problems with castor supply
The castor plant contains highly toxic and allergenic compounds and is poorly suited for domestic production.

As seen by the discovery of traces of ricin in a London apartment this week, the application of this poison to terror attacks is very real.

"Using our gene in an oil seed crop such as canola allows us to produce castor oil safely, without the toxic by-product ricin, as well as the many extremely allergenic proteins found in the castor plant," said Jack Grushcow, President of Linnaeus Plants Sciences Inc.

In fact ricin, a byproduct found in castor seed meal, is only slightly less toxic than plutonium - a single molecule can disrupt a human cell. In addition, the allergenic compounds found on the plant surface can cause permanent nerve damage.

This makes the harvest of these plants a major health risk. India, Brazil and China are the major crop producers and the workers often suffer many harmful side effects from working with these plants.

Linnaeus Plant Sciences Inc.
Linnaeus is a privately held corporation whose mission is to commercialize innovative agricultural biotechnology. The company's main focus is modification of oil seed crops to produce non-polluting feedstocks that can substitute for traditional petroleum products. Linnaeus is the exclusive licensee of the castor gene, the gene responsible for giving castor oil its unique properties.

Jack Grushcow, the founder of Linnaeus, created one of Canada's largest software companies, Consumers Software Inc, a pioneer in the development of electronic mail. Consumers Software was acquired by Microsoft in 1991 in one of the then largest transactions of its kind.


 

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