Plant systems are rich in secondary metabolites as they play vital roles in plant development, interactions, resistance to abiotic and biotic stress etc as regulatory activators and suppressors of signal transduction physiology to mount the preprogrammed response. Virtually any evolved plant is packed with a vast array of metabolites and is well studied in medicinal herbs and shrubs, agricultural crops etc. However analysis of such functionally potent molecules in castor seed debris is rudimentary.
Secondary metabolites are broad category compounds and scientists of this study have chosen to characterize one of the principal categories, phenolics from castor deoiled cake.The phenolics being non polar in nature differential extraction of molecules in cake was made with methanol-ether bisolvent system and they ended up with a biochemical mixture. Spetroscopic analysis showed a strong absorbance corresponding to phenolics and further chemical disintegration revealed five principal compounds namely p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, o-coumaric acids, syringic, and cinnamic acids .
This is a remarkable metabolite profile for the presence of secondary metabolites. Eventhough the authors did not disclose the functional significance of them in seeds, it could most probably be associated with herbivore feeding deterrent activity.