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n. A toxin akin to ricin found in jequirity beans, ''Abrus precatorius''. (First attested in the late 19th century.)(R:SOED5: page=8)


Abrin is a highly toxic toxalbumin found in the seeds of the rosary pea (or jequirity pea), Abrus precatorius. It has a median toxic dose of 0.7 micrograms per kilogram of body mass when given to mice intravenously (approximately 31.4 times more toxic than ricin being 22 micrograms per kilogram). The median toxic dose for humans ranges from 10 to 1000 micrograms per kilogram when ingested and is 3.3 micrograms per kilogram when inhaled.

Abrin, like ricin, is a ribosome inhibiting protein and the toxin can also be found in the seeds of the castor oil plant. It is classed as a " Select Agent" under U.S. law.

Usage examples of "abrin".

  But that was nothing out of the ordinary and Senior Lieutenant Abrin had nearly a thousand hours flying out of this base.

Even as he climbed into the overcast, Sergei Abrin ran another quick check of his systems.

For longer than Sergei Abrin had been alive, the men and machines of the PVO had stood between the Motherland and the Capitalist aggressors.

The flying pieces of glass injected the poison as by a myriad of hypodermic needles— the highly poisonous toxin of abrin, product of the jequirity, which is ordinarily destroyed in the stomach but acts powerfully if injected into the blood.

Ricin and abrin are vegetable protein toxins of enormous potency and exert a narcotic action.