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Potential of Jatropha curcas as a Biofuel, Animal Feed and Health Products


Jatropha curcas is a multipurpose plant with numerous attributes. It can potentially become one of the world’s key energy crops. Its seed weighs 0.53–0.86 g and the seed kernel contains 22–27% protein and 57–63% lipid indicating good nutritional value. The seeds can produce crude vegetable oil that can be transformed into high quality biodiesel. Several methods for oil extraction have been developed. In all processes, about 75% of the weight of the seed remains as a press cake containing mainly carbohydrates, protein and residual oil and is a potential source of livestock feed. The highly toxic nature of whole as well as dehulled seed meal due to the presence of high levels of shells, toxic phorbol esters and other antinutrients prevents its use in animal diet. The genetic variation among accessions from different regions of the world and rich diversity among Mexican genotypes in terms of phorbol ester content and distinct molecular profiles indicates the potential for improvement of germplasm of Jatropha through breeding programs. The extracts of Jatropha display potent cytotoxic, antitumor, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities. The possibilities on the exploitation potential of this plant through various applications have been explored.

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The authors are grateful to the Jatropower AG-MRP, Switzerland for the financial support extended.

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Correspondence to Perumal Siddhuraju.

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Nithiyanantham, S., Siddhuraju, P. & Francis, G. Potential of Jatropha curcas as a Biofuel, Animal Feed and Health Products. J Am Oil Chem Soc 89, 961–972 (2012).

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  • Jatropha curcas
  • Biodiesel
  • Seed cake
  • Phorbol esters
  • Antinutrients
  • Genetic diversity