Castor oil and its derivatives are well known for its medicinal benefits. Castor oil is obtained from castor seeds (Ricinus communis). It is a trigyceride and comprises fatty acids, 90% of which is ricinoleic acid. It appears as a pale yellow liquid with a thick and sticky sensation. It has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which makes it useful for therapeutic applications. Castor oil has a consistent viscosity and thus it doesn’t freeze at lower temperatures. This property makes it an ideal substitute for synthetic lubricants in commercial manufacturing processes. Castor oil and its derivatives have several applications such as food additive and flavorants, mold inhibitor, and cosmetic ingredient. Castor oil is also synthesized to produce bio-diesel.
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There are several derivatives of castor oil such as castor wax, castor meal, sulfonated castor oil, and dehydrated castor oil that has wide application in various industrial processes. Burgeoning use of castor oil and its derivatives in production of bio-diesel is driving the global castor oil and its derivatives market. Lubricant is one of the major application segments of castor oil and its derivatives. Castor oil is obtained from natural sources and thus there is a trend towards bio-based lubricants over synthetic. Hence, castor oil and its derivatives is expected to find large application in lubricant industry. Increasing demand for castor oil in the manufacture of polyamide 11 (Nylon 11) is another key application of castor oil and its derivatives. As the demand for high quality engineered plastics and durable protective coatings are increasing, the consumption of castor oil and its derivative is expected to rise significantly in the next few years.
However, castor oil and its derivatives have been reported for several allergic reactions and contact dermatitis in case of prolonged exposure. The seeds and leaves of the plant contain the alkaloid ricinine and the toxic protein ricin. Internal ingestion of castor oil and its derivatives may result in diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, cramping or abdominal pain. Thus, such factors are restraining growth of castor oil and its derivatives market globally. Growing demand for sustainable and biodegradable products is leading to industry shift towards reducing reliance on petrochemical derivatives. Thus, castor oil and its derivatives are anticipated to find promising potential in various application industries such as resins and polymer, coatings, etc. Moreover, castor oil has natural emollient properties and hence it is largely used in cosmetic products. Significant development and research in the castor oil and derivatives market is expected to provide opportunity for growth in the near future. Castor oil and its derivatives are largely accepted in organic farming over synthetic chemicals in many regions. Thus, it has substantial role as a bio-based pesticide in organic farming.
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The global castor oil and its derivatives market is anticipated to grow at a substantial rate in the foreseeable future. India is expected to drive the demand for castor oil and its derivatives in the South Asian region. India is the largest producer of castor seeds producing about 65% of global production. More than 80% of castor oil is processed in the producing countries. Germany, France and Italy have processing plants and France is the largest importer of castor oil in the European Union. Demand for natural flavoring in food and beverage is expected to raise demand for castor oil and its derivatives in developed countries such as the U.S, and hence North America is expected to increase its capacity for castor oil production in the next few years
The castor oil and its derivatives market has several players which are involved in the supply, distribution and marketing of castor oil and its derivatives. Some of them include Itoh Oil Chemicals Co., Ltd, Thai Castor Oil Industries Co. Ltd., Jayant Agro-Organics Limited, Rpk Agrotech Exports Private Limited, and Kanak Castor Products Pvt. Ltd.