EFFECT OF LOCATION ON THE GROWTH AND HYDROCARBON YIELD OF CALOTROPIS PROCERA: A CASE STUDY Ashwani Kumar, V.P.S. Shekhawat, Anupma Singh Bio-Technology Lab Department of Botany University of Rajasthan, Jaipur-302 004, India. Energy Plantation Demonstration project and Biotechnology Center E-mail: msku31@yahoo.com ABSTRACT: India is divided into several agroclimatic zones which differs in environmental, nutritional and edaphic conditions affecting plant growth and productivity. The Calotropis procera and Calotropis gigantea prefers their distribution and growth pattern in India. Detailed studies were carried out in different parts of the country to elucidate the influence of agroclimatic conditions on growth and productivity of C. procera and C. gigantea. The growth and productivity of C. procera is positively influenced by the condition of Jaisalmer with temperature 0-50°C and with low rainfall 5-10 ml/annum. The biocrude yield of C. procera varide 2.5-12% depending on the location. C. gigantea is very tall and grown largely under horticultural conditions as ornamental plant and has religious value that is why it is probably found in Shiv temples. 1 INTRODUCTION 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. This is more important in respect to laticiferous plants whose growth is influenced significantly by soil composition [1]. Detailed survey was carried out in different parts of Rajasthan and other states of India including Jammu Kashmir, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh[2] The Calotropis procera is widely distributed in Western Rajasthan while Calotropis gigantea is found in Jaipur, Bharatpur, Udaipur, Bhilwara, Banswara division with relatively moderate climatic conditions [3]. Calotropis procera growing in Jaisalmer assumes gigantic proportions and people mistakenly identify it as C. gigantea. The occurrence of Calotropis species is related to the climatic conditions. It is generally not present on good soil except when raised at places of worship. Calotropis gigantea is commonly worshiped plant and is found in Shiv temples. However procera and Calotropis gigantea was studied on the basis of sample collections. The growth and productivity was determined [4]. 1.1 Calotropis Procera A shrub, reaching 15 feet in height, with thick twisted branches, the young ones bluntly quadragular, bark ash colored [5]. Leaves large, opposite, decussate, spreading, nearly sessile, some what amplexicaule, 4-10 inches long, broadly ovate the upper ones narrower, acute at apex, rounded or cordate at base, entire, thick, usually smooth on both surface when mature, when young covered especially underneath with fine white down, pale glacous green, on pedicels ½ -1inch long, arranged in umbellate corymbs, on erect cylindrical stout peduncles about half the length of the leaves and coming off from between the leaf-bases on alternate sides of the stem; bracts lanceolate, soon falling, peduncles and pedicles covered with fine white wool. Calyx very deeply cut into 5 lanceolate, acute, spreading segments, with a ring of bristly hairs at the base inside. Corolla shallowly cupshaped, three times the length of the calyx, deeply cut about ¾ down into 5 ovate, acuminate, blunt segments, valvate in the globular buds, thick, quite smooth, pink shaded and dotted with purple. Stamens 5, inserted near the base of the corolla and alternating with its lobes, filaments combined into a solid fleshy tube surrounding the pistil and united outside with the “corona” which consists of five fleshy laterally compressed masses, rounded on the outside at the tops which are somewhat bifid, and produced at the bases into short blunt turned-up spurs or horns, anthers 2-celled, combined, the cells horizontal, opening by a small apical vertical slit, pollinia small, ovate, flat, horizontal. Pistil of two carpels; ovaries small, ovoid, tapering into the distinct filiform style stigma single, large, flat, capitate, completely closing in the top of the staminal tube, bluntly 5-angled, the angles alternate with the anthers and each provided with a glandular “corpuscle” to which the two adjacent pollinia adhere. Fruit of two (often one from abortion), short, ovoid, curved, thick, fleshy follicles, somewhat wrinkled and covered with white woolly pubescence. Seed oblong, compressed, with a tuft of hairs at one end, embryo straight in cartilaginous endosperm. Habitat: This plant has a wide range in the warm parts of Africa and Asia, being found in Algeria, Nimebia, Abyssinia, and the countries further south to Zanzibar, in Palestine, Arabia, Persia, and the northern districts of India, where it is very common on waste ground, about old walls etc. and flowers nearly all the year round. The plant has become introduced into the West Indies and Central America. It was first grown in English gardens in 1714, and is a somewhat ornamental plant. There is a variety with the flowers white. In Southern India, Ceylon & Java the place of C. procera is taken by the very similar C. gigantea, which differs chiefly by its flat corollas and conical flower buds. 1.2 Calotropis Gigantea R. Br. (Madar) Calotropis gigantea a 2.4 to 3.0m tall plant is common in South India and in Udaipur division of Rajasthan. It requires relatively moderate temperatures but can thrive well on poor soils. This and the allied species, C. hamiltonii, Wight, yields and elastic gum-resin which is procured by making incisions in the plant and is used as a substitute for guttapercha. About one pound of this substance can be obtained from ten average sized plants. The juice when collected is evaporated in a shallow dish, either in the sun or in the shade, and when dry, the 350 2nd World Conference on Biomass for Energy, Industry and Climate Protection, 10-14 May 2004, Rome, Italy substance is worked up in hot water with a wooden kneader in order to get rid of the acridity of the gum. The juice is also used to destroy the offensive smell of fresh leather and in medicine. The Madar also yields a kind of manna known as ‘shukr-ul-ushr’, which is caused by an exudation from the piercing of an insect called goltifgal. An erect stout, large hairy-tomntose shrub; young parts and under surface of leaves arachnoid pubescent. Leaves elliptic ovate to obovate, 10-20 cm long with amplexicaule bases; apex obtuse or slightly acuminate. Flowers in umbellate or sub-corymbose cymes; peduncles 8-12 cm long, fleshy, cottony pubescent; pedicles in parts, 2-4 cm long, terete, densely fulvous pubescent. Calyxlobes 6-8 × 3-4 mm, cottony pubescent, broadly ovate, acute. Corolla 3.5-4 cm across, ovoid in bud; tube short; lobes 1.2-1.7 × 0.6-0.8 cm, divided more than half way down, speeding, deltoid, ovate, acute, with revolute margins, glabrous. Gynostegium 2.3 cm long. Pollinia ovoid, attached to the brown pollen-carrier by short caudicles. Corona of 5 fleshy, laterally compressed lobes, completely adnate to and shorter than the staminal column; lobes 1.2cm long, glabrous, cilliolate on the margins, with a recurved spur at the base and two obtuse auricles just below the rounded apex. Ovaries globrous, many ovule; style 9mm long, slender, glabrous; style apex 4mm across, thick. Follicles in pairs, 7-10 × 3-4 cm, boat shaped with a hooked tip, cottony pubescent. Seeds 7×5mm, broadly ovate, obtuse, shortly pubescent, brown; coma silky, white 3.5cm long. 2 METHODOLOGY A 50 ha. Bioenergy plantation demonstration centre has been established in the campus of the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, to conduct the experiments on large scale cultivation of Calotropis procera with the objective of developing optimal conditions to increase its growth potential. Seeds of C. procera were collected in the month of March 2002 to May 2004 from different localities of Jaipur. Seeds were dried in shed and stored in cool and dry places and used for raising seedlings in the polythene bags filled with sand : manure : clay in 1:1:1, subsequently, seedling transferred to pot in July, 2002. Samples collected were dried in oven, hexane extractable were determined following the procedure of [1]. 3 RESULTS The plants of Calotropis procera from Gujarat region which is nearer to the sea coast have smaller leaves & early flowering. The plants of Jhunjhunu also show early flowering by 12th April, most of the plants in Bagar, Pillani region of Jhunjhunu district already developed fruits & some of them started shedding of fruits, however the flower in Jaipur district still did not show the fruit formation. In the plant from seeds of Jaisalmer the fruit formation could be recorded in 2nd week of May. In general the plants however flowered twice a year, and start flowering between 6th Sept. to 14th Sept. in Jaipur and Sikar districts but these plants do not form fruits in that season and almost no dispersal of seeds is recorded in the month of Sept. to Oct. However flowering and fruiting time was different in Jaisalmer district. The variability in genome can be described to an interaction of environment and genomic factors. Differences in AFLP dendrograms indicate variable polymorphism to suggest differential DNA amplification. Detailed studies are in progress. The latex biosynthesis is a complex process which takes place through MVA and non MVA pathway as described recently. The photosynthetic ability of the plants influences the total hydrocarbon content and there is a thresh hold position where the latex contents and the biomass production are directly correlated with the latex yield [6]. Plants growing in the soils rich in organic manure and fertilizers have poor growth and productivity as compared to plants growing under extreme adverse conditions of Barmer, Jaisalmer region. Previous investigations on the application of nitrogen indicates the reduction in latex contents [7] On application of nitrogen fertilizer [8]. Similarly the application of growth regulator like NAA, which slightly reduced the growth, improved the latex [9]. The soil quality also influenced the growth of the Calotropis like other laticiferous plants. In general the laticiferous plants require soil rich in Calcium and hardpan of calcified soil is a common characteristics of desert soil which results in increase in salinity level due to reduced percolation and the evapotranspiration which are very high in Rajasthan leading to the accumulation of salts in the soil. In Jaisalmer, Barmer and Bikaner division where extreme of temperature are recorded, low relative humidity, high salinity and deposition of Kankar or hardpan in the soil renders ideal conditions for the growth of Calotropis procera. Attempts were made to grow these plants of different regions at the EPDP centre and it was found that in addition to the location the period of sowing is also plays a very important role. The plant sown June had strong biomass production and growth throughout the year as compared to the plant growth in July or later. REFERENCES 1 Kumar A 1995. Cultivation of hydrocarbon yielding plants in Rajasthan as alternative energy source. J. Environment & Pollution (MS 130) In Press. 2 Kumar A and Kumar 1986. Improving the productivity of petrocrops in Rajasthan In : Proc Bioenergy Society Second Convention and Symposium (Sharma R N, O P Vimal and V Bhakthavatsalam eds. Bioenergy Soceity of India, New Delhi, p. 125-129. 3. Kumar Ashwani and Vijay R. Kumar. 2002. Bioenergy potential of semi-arid regions of Rajasthan. In 12th European Conference on Biomass for Energy, Industry and Climate Protection, pp. 372- 374, eds. W. Palz, J. Spitzer, K. Maniatis, K. Kwant, P. Helm and A. Grassi (ETA-Florence & WIPMunich) Germany. 4. Roy S 1994. Studies on growth and propagation of Jatropha curcas L an alternative source of fossil fuel. J. Environ Pollution, 1, 25-29. 5. Roy, A., and Kumar, A. 1988, Potential of different tree species as sources of biomass in Rajasthan, pp. 62-66 In : Sharma, R.N., Vimal, O.P. & Mathur, A.N. (eds.) Proc. Bio-energy Society fourth Convention & Symposium 87. (BESI, New Delhi). 351 2nd World Conference on Biomass for Energy, Industry and Climate Protection, 10-14 May 2004, Rome, Italy 6. Nielsen PE, H Nishimura, J W Otvos and M Calvin 1977. Plant crops as a source of fuel and hydrocarbon like materials. Science 198, 942- 944. 7. Johari S and A Kumar 1992. Effect of N P and K on growth and biocrude yield of Euphorbia antisyphilitica. Ann. of Arid Zone, 31, 313-314. 8. Johari S, S Roy and A Kumar 1991. Influence of growth regulators on biomass and hydrocarbon yield from Euphorbia antisyphilitica Zucc. In : Bioenergy for Humid and Semi-humid Regions (Sharma H L and R N Sharma eds) Bioenergy Society of India, New Delhi, p. 462-468. 9. Johari S and A Kumar, 1993a. Influence of growth regulators on biomass and hydrocarbon yield from Euphorbia antisyphilitica (Zucc). J. Phytol Res. 6(1&2), 7.11.1993. 352 2nd World Conference on Biomass for Energy, Industry and Climate Protection, 10-14 May 2004, Rome, Italy