JATROPHA CURCAS: HIGH YIELDIG ACCESSIONS AND IMPROVEMENT.
A. Kumar, A. Kumari
Energy Plantation Demonstration project and
Bio-Technology Lab Department of Botany
University of Rajasthan, Jaipur - 302 004
E mail: email@example.com
ABSTRACT: Jatropha curcas has now being extensively grown in India under the Department of Biotechnology supported
micro mission projects with an object to identify, characterize and multiply high yielding strains and study their growth and
productivity under different agro climatic conditions. In Rajasthan, 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. Banswara, Bhilwara,
Udaipur, Pali, Rajsamand, and Sirohi these districts of Rajasthan have huge strands of Jatropha growing under natural
conditions. A detailed survey was carried out in these areas. 12 accessions were collected and 11 were analyzed for their oil
contents. Four accessions having oil contents more than 35 percent were selected for multiplication at the Energy Plantation
Demonstration Centre, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur under Department of Biotechnology supported micro mission
programme. Nursery techniques for large scale plantation of elite strains have been developed. An area of 35 ha has been
planted with Jatropha curcas with the high yielding strains identified during the course of investigation. The plants have
shown great degree of genetic diversity. The morphological parameters have been employed to characterize initial growth of
the plants in the nursery stage. Some of the plants in their second year of growth have shown flowering and fruiting during
moths of September to January. Application of fertilizers and proper irrigation schedule has improved the growth and
productivity of plants.
Keywords: Biomass resources, Biomass production, Biosdiesel.
Agriculture is the main stay of the Indian
economy. Agriculture and allied sectors contribute nearly
22 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP of India),
while about 65-70 percent of the population is dependent
on agriculture for their livelihood. The agricultural
output, however, depends on monsoon as nearly 60
percent of area sown is dependent on rainfall.
Jatropha, family Euphorbiaceae is a native
plant of Central and South America but has a long history
of propagation in India. In the State of Rajasthan this
plant is known as Jangli Arandi and major patches are
grown naturally in the tribal belt of Kumbalgarh in
Udaipur division. It is semi-wild bush or shrub or hedge
and quite hardy to face dry whether conditions and not
browsed by cattle.
Jatropha grows wild in many areas of India and even
thrives on infertile soil. A good crop can be obtained
with little effort. The plant can survive in arid and semi
arid regions of the state and even on degraded soils
having low fertility and moisture. Jatropha shrubs have
many usages, they are used by farmers as fences to
protect from animals, and also they resist soil from wind
erosion and help in sand dunes fixation. It can also
thrives well on stony gravelly or shallow and even on
The plant is also useful for hedging and soil conservation
purposes but the small size of holding of tribal farmers of
those districts is the major hindrance in the development
of cluster commercial plantation.
Rajasthan is situated between 23°3’N and 30°12’ N
latitude and 69°30’ and 78°17’ E longitude. The total
land area of the state is about 3, 42,239 km2, out of
which about 1, 96,150 km2 is arid and rest is semi-arid.
Rajasthan has basically two agroclimatic zones:
North West of Aravallis and other is South East of Aravallis and
roughly the Aravalli hills divide them into two. The dividing line
runs approximately in the vicinity of Mt. Abu to Alwar with
prominent of Aravalli hills (Fig 1).
Figure 1: Map of Rajasthan showing Udaipur division
from where the study material was collected and Jaipur
division where studies were conducted.
Investigations were undertaken with the following objectives:
1. Selection of superior material based on
established criteria of oil content and yield.
2. Production of superior quality material – macro
and micro propagation.
3. Standardizing agro technology packages.
4. Generate and distribute knowledge of
importance Jatropha as biofuel to farmers.
2 MATERIAL AND METHODS AGRO CLIMATIC
(A) Area of collection-
Plant material was collected from Udaipur division.
The climate of Udaipur is tropical. The summer season is
hot, with the average temperature hovering around 38.3°
C (max) to 28.8° C (min). The climate of Udaipur,
Rajasthan is quite pleasant in winters. The average
temperature falls in the range of 28.3° C (max) to 11.6° C
(min). Udaipur weather experiences scanty rainfall in the
monsoon season, somewhere around 61 cm,
approximately. Udaipur is a hilly area with several lakes
and water table is around 50 feet.
Mixed Red and Black Soil are found in the eastern
parts of Udaipur while Ferruginous Red Soil is found in
other regions of Udaipur. This soil is poorer in nitrogen,
phosphorous and humus. Organic carbon and nitrogen
are low to medium level in this soil.
(B) Area of experimentation-
Four accessions having oil contents more than 35 percent
were selected for multiplication at the Energy Plantation
Demonstration Centre, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur
under Department of Biotechnology supported micro
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
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. Alluvial Soils of Jaipur are deficient in lime,
phosphoric acid and humus. This soil produces a large
variety of crops including wheat, rice, cotton and
About 5.5 kg seeds were used for the plantation
in 1 ha. The plants were raised in polybags 6cm X 25 cm
in the month of March- April. Seeds were sown in each
polybag at 3-4 cm depth. The seeds germinated after a
week. The eight to ten weeks old seedlings (10 to 15 cm
in height) were used for plantation during July to August.
The plants were also raised during February - March by
Figure 2: Map of Rajasthan showing rainfall pattern.
Jatropha can be grown in areas having rainfall
300 mm but for flowering and fruiting it requires a
minimum rainfall of 600 mm. Cuttings obtained from
plants minimum two years of age. The cuttings from 7yrs
or older plants had better rate of survival. Plantation was
done in rows at spacing of 2m X 2m under irrigated
conditions accommodating 2500 plants per hectare.
In some of the land area high density planting at 2m
X 1m or 1.5 m X 1.5 m accommodating 4000-5000
plant/ha was also practiced. The 30 cm X 30 cm pit is
filled with a mixture of (FYM 2-3 kg; Urea 20 gm SSP
120 gm & 16 gm MOP). Plantation was done by direct or
transplanting method. Plants were watered after the rainy
season was over at 6 days interval upto six months and
thereafter at fortnightly intervals. Frequent irrigation
was required during drier period. Plants required much
irrigation during the September to December period.
Plants flowered during the second year between August
to September and then November-January period. The
fruiting extended from September to January. Fruit
matured after one to two months of flowering. The plant
started giving yield after two years and which was
increased during 3rd year. However a tendency of
reduced yield in the third year was observed in
unirrigated plants as compared to irrigated control. Seeds
resemble with caster seed in shape but are smaller in size
and are covered in dull brown black capsule.12
accessions were collected and 11 were analyzed for their
oil contents. Automatic soxhlet extractor was used and
heptane was the employed as solvent. Four accessions
having oil contents more than 35 percent were selected
for multiplication at the Energy Plantation Demonstration
Centre, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur under Department
of Biotechnology supported micro mission programme.
Passport data of the samples collected having oil contents
more than 35 percent.
3 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The four accessions which yielded more than 35 percent
oil contents belonged to location of Bhadvi Guda, Kavita
Gaon, Godunda Old Shrinath Ji areas in the Udaipur
division. The plant height varied from 3 to 5 meter and
stem diameter from 55 cm to 80 cm. The plants were
10yrs or more in age. Each plant had and average yield
of 3.5 to 10 kg per flowering season of six months in
three flushes. The seed oil contents were RU I (35.53
%); RU II (36.41 %); RU III (36.36); RU VIII (35.25 %).
Figure 3: Jatropha RU I grown at Jaipur produced
flowers and fruits
Higher yields of the accessions could be ascribed to
the agro climatic conditions, rainfall, soil types and plant
associations. The possibility of mycorrhiza playing some
role in improving growth and yield of these plants in the
division of Udaipur needs to be dtermined.
Irrigation was done at weekly intervals upto 6 months, 15
days interval after one year and monthly interval after
one year and two monthly intervals after two years
Plants require irrigation at the time of flowering and
fruiting. More flowering and fruiting was observed in the
irrigated plants as compare to unirrigated ones.
Figure 4:. Elite plant of Jatropha having stem girth of
1.10 m and height of 6 meters and diameter of 15 m
growing in Udaipur division.
The elite plants raised from RU I at EPDPC produced 1
kg per plant in the third season of growth.
Analysis of their oil contents is in progress.
Sample Name Total Unsaturated Fats
RU II 75.72
RU III 79.52
RU V 82.14
RU VIII 79.37
RU X 77.83
RU XI 77.92
Table I: Samples having Total Unsaturated Fats > 77%
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