Castor is a non-edible oil crop that grows throughout the tropics, and subtropics and is well adapted in some temperate climates. The castor plant (Ricinus Communis) is perennial and grows between 10 and 12 m in tropical climates while in temperate climates it is an annual plant with common heights of 1–3 m. For maximum oil yield, the plant needs an environment with a temperature between 293 and 303 K, low humidity throughout the growing season, and soils that are deep, moderately fertile, slightly acidic, well-drained, and sandy loams.
The world castor seed production has increased from 1.055 million tons in 2003 to 1.440 million tons in 2013 with India being the leading producer and accounting for over 75 % of the total production followed by China and Brazil each accounting for 12.5 and 5.5 % respectively. This increase of about 36% in production in a decade is linked to castor oil’s easy availability, low cost, non-food competition,high boiling point, high viscosity and other environmental considerations. A combination of these reasons makes castor oil have a huge potential as a green bio-based chemical resource. At present, the major castor markets are the USA, China, Russia, Japan, and the European Community countries.
India is the largest producer of castor seeds, it also heavily dominates in castor oil production worldwide.
The worldwide increase in castor oil production witnessed in the past decade is a clear testimony of themwide range of applications of castor oil and its derivatives in various sectors. The oil is presently used in sectors such as agriculture, food, textile, paper, plastic, rubber, cosmetics, perfumeries, electronics,pharmaceuticals, paints, inks, additives, lubricants, and biofuels. The advances made during the last decade in using plant oils and basic oleochemicals in the synthesis and production of diverse products including polymers are remarkable. In the advances, castor oil is among the most versatile plant oil owing to the unique chemical structure that makes it useful in a wide range of industries. It is among the most sought-after plant oil mainly due to its rich properties and variety of end-uses.