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JATROPHA Jatropha curcas L. (EUPHORBIACEAE)

Source of oil for biodiesel production

Uses
The oil from seeds is used for production of biodiesel, as well as for the manufacture of candles and soap and as fuel for cooking, whereas the seedcake is applied as fertilizer. Production of biogas is booming. In arid and semi-arid regions J. curcas is commonly planted as living fence and for erosion control. Several constituents that display interesting pharmacological activities have been isolated. The latex seems to be an interesting topical application for use in rural communities. J. curcas is well adapted to marginal areas with poor soils and low rainfall, where it grows without competing with annual food crops. Of its many uses, the combination of erosion control and oil production seems very promising.
Ecology and planting
Jatropha is most successful in drier tropical regions with an average annual rainfall of 300- 1,000 mm, but its occurrence has been reported in an area with 2,380 mm of annual rainfall. In its centre of origin it is found in regions with average annual temperatures of 20°C to 28°C, but it does withstand slight frost. Propagation from seeds is possible and ordinary, but development of stem cuttings about 45-100 cm long is more rapid and is easier than propagation from seeds. Cuttings start producing seed 4-5 months after planting. Spacing of 2 m x 2 m showed best vegetative development and the highest first seed yield. Annual seed yield varies from 400 to 1,200 kg/ha; in very fertile soils up to 2,150 kg/ha.
Mycorrhiza & Bio-fertilizers
Inoculation of seedlings or cuttings with mycorrhizal product Symbivit® increases plant growth at minimum about 15% over untreated controls. Mycorrhiza development in combination with the initial dose of slow release natural fertilizer Conavit® gives the plant an essential dose of nutrients for the period of the first two years. This ensures even faster growth and earlier production of seeds. Scientific studies showed better plant establishment, 30% enhancement of early growth and 6 months earlier production of seeds in field plantations (Teri Institute, New Delhi, India). The first observation of the increased growth effects can be made 2 months after inoculation and fertilizer application. In a long term, the enhancement of seeds and oil production at minimum of 10% per ha of plantation is envisaged to be observed from the first harvest. Based on a similar field trial, early production of seeds is estimated at minimum 2 moths earlier compared to untreated plants.
Recommended products:
 
Symbivit: mycorrhizal product
Conavit: slow release fertlizer
 

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More details:
 
Info sheet Jatropha [PDF]