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Economic Importance of Castanospermum australe

Castanospermum australe-Fruit
Castanospermum australe-Fruit

Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Castanospermum
Species: C. australe
Common name: Black bean, moreton-bay chestnut
 Origin: Australia

Description: It is a large evergreen tree growing to 40 m tall, though commonly much smaller. The leaves are pinnate, with 11-15 leaflets. The flowers are bicoloured red and yellow, produced in racemes. The fruit is a cylindrical pod,   the interior divided by a spongy substance into three to five cells, each of which contains a large chestnut-like seed.

Economic Importance:

  • Seeds are edible after roasting, rich source of starch.
  • Wood used for panelling, furniture, cabinets, and other decorative work. Suitable for switchboards and other electric fittings, exceptionally high insulation. The timber, which somewhat resembles walnut, is soft, fine-grained, and takes a good polish, but is not very durable.
  • Castanospermine is reported to have anti- cancer potential. It inhibits platelet aggregation in metastatic H- Ras- transformed fibroblasts, inhibits tyrosinase activity in human melanoma cell and also biosynthesis, maturation and transport of alpha anti-trypsin in human leptoma cell line. Castanospermine is a useful tool in co-relating glycoprotein composition in cell development in mouse cerebellum in probing T-cell function and proliferationand in biosynthesis of vasopressin V2 receptor in renal epithelial cell.

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