Molecular analysis of Castor bean germination and seedling establishment


Castor bean (Ricinus communis L.) is a member of Euphorbiaceae, widespread throughout tropical, sub-tropical and warm temperate regions. It possesses a highly adaptive tolerance to most diverse climates including high temperature and drought conditions. India, Brazil, and China are the major oil crop producers in the world and recently the use of R. communis for biodiesel production has received wide attention in Brazil.



Our approach:

A high level of seed germination and seedling establishment is crucial for an efficient crop establishement. We want to elucidate the molecular processes involved in optimal seed germination and seedling establishment under different environmental conditions. Therefor we propose to adopt a multi-“omics” approach as a powerful tool for understanding the relationship between physiological and biochemical events related to germination and seedling establishment in  R. communis under varying environmental conditions. Metabolite profiling was performed to determine metabolic changes during germination and seedling establishment at different temperatures and this revealed that carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism in R. communis seeds and seedlings are remarkably affected by temperature.


In this overall project the student can perform a sub-project on one of the following subjects

  • Changes in gene expression in R. communis seeds and seedlings under varying environmental conditions.
  • Large scale metabolite profiling study in R. communis  seeds and seedlings under varying environmental conditions.

The student will be involved in activities like literature study, experimental design, metabolite profiling (GC-TOF-MS, HPLC), DNA and RNA isolation, gene expression analysis (micro-arrays and qRT-PCR), phenotyping of germination and seedling development.