ABSTRACT: A large number of hydrocarbon yielding plants like Calotropis procera, Euphorbia antisyphilitica have been reported to yield bio-fuel products. Attempts have been made to increase their growth and hydrocarbon yield potential. Studies were conducted to improve growth and productivity of these plants under field conditions In Rajasthan, Calotropis procera grows wild while Euphorbia antisyphilitica has been introduced from Mexico. Jatropha grows wild in south east Rajasthan which lies on south east side of Aravalli hill range which roughly divides the state in semi-arid and arid regions. Detailed studies have been conducted on the growth and cultivation and improvement of hydrocarbon contents of Calotropis procera and Euphorbia antisyphilitica. 12 accessions of Calotropis procera were analysed and their growth parameters studied at the Energy Plantation Demonstration Centre, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur under Department of Biotechnology project. Details of the investigation shall be presented.


India has varied agroclimatic zones which have wide range of temperature, humidity, rainfall and soil conditions. Growth and productivity of plant depends upon a large number of edaphic, nutritional and environmental factors.

Biomass is renewable source of Energy and is produced annually in amounts greater than the annual global requirement of the biomass.

Use of biomass for energy and industry allows a significant quantity of hydrocarbons to be consumed without increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere and thus makes a positive contribution to the Greehouse effect and to the problems of "global change" as occurs in both industrialized and developing countries. Further advantages from utilization of biomass include : liquid fuels produced from biomass contain no sulfur, thus avoiding SO2 emissions and also reducing emission of N0x.

Biomass resources are potentially the worlds largest and sustainable energy source a renewable resource comprising 220 billion oven dry tones (about 4500 EJ) of annual primary production. The annual bioenergy potential is about 2900 EJ though only 270 EJ could be considered available on sustainable basis and at competitive prices.

Most major energy scenarios recognize bioenergy as an important component in the future worlds energy. Projections indicate the biomass energy use to the range of 85 EJ to 215 EJ in 2025 compared to current global energy use of about 400 EJ of which 55 EJ are derived from biomass(2).

Most plant species are herbaceous in nature and appear during rainy season. They are the first colonizers&are generally herb, which have several potential uses.

Laticiferous plants are the early colonizers. Calotropis procera is a potential energy resource, containing latex, an emulsion of oil and water. The oil fraction looks, feels and acts like crude oil (1). The latex is converted into petroleum like substances by using hydrocracking in presence of zeolite catalysts (1). By some of the estimates majority of the compound in latex consists of terpenoids and sugars. The Calotropis procera is widely distributed in Western Rajasthan while Calotropis gigantea is found mostly under cultivated conditions near temples in Jaipur, Bharatpur, Udaipur, Bhilwara, Banswara division with relatively moderate climatic conditions.

The occurrence of Calotropis species is related to the climatic conditions. Calotropis procera growing in Jaisalmer and productivity of have detergent properties so they are given in cholera. The fresh roots are used as a toothbrush and are considered by pathans to cure toothache. Aak is an alternative, tonic and diaphoretic, in large dose emetic. The plant produces latex in the laticifers. and triterpenes. From the hexane-insoluble fraction of this plant a new free cardenolide named proceragenin has been isolated. The medicinal importance of Calotropis procera prompted the studies on pharma-cological screening of the antibacterial and anti-aggregating activities of proceragenin. Procesterol, a new steroidal hydroxy ketone, has been isolated from it.

Once the early colonizers are able to establish the trees make their appearance. Trees like Acacia spp are most prominent in the area. They make the upper tier.

Such well colonized lands can be used for growing Euphorbia antisyphilitica which has yield potential of upto 80 dry tones in 5 year rotation cycle.

Jatropha curcas can also be grown in this model and during the present study a three tier model is proposed for wasteland colonization and production of biofuels.


The work was started in 1982 at the Energy Plantation Demonstration Centre, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur under Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources on laticiferous plants and screening of laticiferous plants growing in Rajasthan was carried out Subsequently studies on energy plantations was carried out using tree epecies. Since 2002 studies on Euphorbia antisyphilitica and Calotropis procera were started again. Department of Biotechnology supported micro mission programme for Jatropha cultivation in Rajasthan and work was initiated at EPDPC Jaipur.

. Jaipur has hot and scorching summers and cool winters, which are pleasanter. The mercury rises to as high as 45 °C in summers, when the minimum temperature is 25.8 °C. In winters the maximum temperature restricts itself to about 22 °C. However, nights can be cold and temperature can be as low as 8.3 °C. Jaipur Soil is Yellowish Brown and Non-Calcil Brown. Red and Yellow Soil are poorer in carbonate and humus content. Calcium carbonate is absent. Salt content is low.


3.1 Several laticiferous plants like Euphorbia

antisyphilitica, Calotropis procera, Euphorbia neerifolia, Euphorbia tirucalli were tested for their latex contents.

Euphorbia antisyphilitica, yielded dry biomass of 80 dry tonnese in 5 year rotation cycle. Calotropis procera, elite strains produced upto 100 dry tones of biomass in 5 year rotation cycle especially from the germplasm obtained from the Jaisalmer region.

Figure 1: Energy plantation at EPDPC University of Rajasthan Jaipur. Three tier plantation viz trees, shrubs and small shrubs provide of optimal utilization of plant productivity.

Three tier plantation viz trees, shrubs and small shrubs provide of optimal utilization of plant productivity. Trees of Acacia sp provide plant cover as well as nitrogen for the shrubs and medium shrubs.

The tree tier encompass Jatropha as well as Calotropis procera in the middle tier and Euphorbia antisyphilitica in the lower tier.

Figure 2:. Euphorbia antisyphilitica growing at EPDPC.

The Euphorbia antisyphilitica growing at EPDPC University of Rajasthan, Jaipur could yield upto 80 dry tones under five year rotation cycle. The latex contents could be increased upto 17 percent utilizing combination of fertilizers and growth regulators.


Calvin, M, 1979. Petroleum plantations for fuel and

materials Bioscience 29: 533-538.

Hall, D.O. 1980 Renewable Resources (Hydrocarbons)

outlook, Agric 10: 246-254.

Eilert, U., L.R. Nesbitt and F. constable, 1985,

Laticifers and latex in fruit of periwinkle Catheranthus

roseus, Can. J. Bot. 63: 1540-1546.

F. Statt, 1998 Development of biodiesel activity France, Biomass for energy and Industry. Eds. Kopetz H. et al., 112-115.

D.O. Hall and F.Rosillo-Calle. 1998 The role of bioenergy in developing countries. Biomass for energy and industry. Eds. Kpetz et al., 52-55.

Kumar, A. S. Johari and S.Roy, Production and improvement of bioenergy sources., J. Indian Bot. Soc. 74A: 233-244. 1994

Kumar, A. 1998 Biomass energy crops of semi-arid regions of India and their energy potential. Biomass for energy and Industry. Eds. Kopetz, H. et al. 345-348.

A. Kumar, 1994. Laticifers as potential bioremedients for wasteland restoration. J. Environment and Pollution 1994 1 : 101-104.

Kumar, A. 2001. Bioengineering of crops for biofuels

and bioenergy. In: From Soil to call – a broad approach

to plant life, (eds. L. Bender and A. Kumar). Gie Ben

Electronic Library (GEB) www.Bibd.uni-giessen.


Kumar, Ashwani and Vijay R. Kumar. 2002. Bioenergy potential of semi-arid regions of Rajasthan. In : Palz, W. , J.Spitzer, K.Maniatis, K.Kwant, P.Helm, A.Grassi.( eds)

12th European Biomass conference : Biomass for energy , Industry and climatic protection. WIP Munich. Germany.

Kumar, Vijay Rani, Ashwani Kumar and A,K,Gupta. 2002. Calotropis procera: A potential bio-energy plant for arid and semi-arid regions. In : Palz, W. , J.Spitzer, K.Maniatis, K.Kwant, P.Helm, A.Grassi.( eds) 12th European Biomass conference : Biomass for energy , Industry and climatic protection.WIP Munich. Germany.

Kumar A. (2004) Calotropis Procera: a Potential Plant for Hydrocarbons from Semi-Arid and Arid Regions In : Van Swaaij, Fjallstrom, Helm and Grassi (eds):. Biomass for energy, industry, and climate protection. Proceedings of the Second World Conference ETA-Florence, Rome Italy WIP-Munich , Germany pp 173

Kumari A and AKumar 2005 Some potential biofuel plants for semi-arid and arid regions and improving their growth and productivity. In: Sjunnesson, L., Carrasco, J.E., Helm, P., A. Grassi (eds.) Biomass for energy, Industry and climate protection. Pp 279-281. ETA-Renewable energies, Florence, Italy, WIP- Munich.

Kumari, A Kumar, A and V.R. Kumar 2005. Productivity of Calotropis procera in semia-arid regions of Rajasthan and its use as renewable source of energy. In: Sjunnesson, L., Carrasco, J.E., Helm, P., A. Grassi (eds.) Biomass for energy, Industry and climate protection. Pp 276-278. ETA-Renewable energies, Florence, Italy, WIP- Munich.