1 JATROPHA CURCAS: HIGH YIELDIG ACCESSIONS AND IMPROVEMENT. A. Kumar, A. Kumari Energy Plantation Demonstration project and Biotechnology Center Bio-Technology Lab Department of Botany University of Rajasthan, Jaipur - 302 004 E mail: msku31@yahoo.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. 1 INTRODUCTION 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 calcareous soils. 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: 2 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 CONDITIONS: (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 mission programme. 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. 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 tobacco. 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 3 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 irrigation. 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% 4 REFERENCES Bhojvaid, P.P. (ed) (2006) Biofuels towards a greener and secure energy future. Tata Energy Research Institute, New Delhi. pp . 281. Jones and, L.H. and Miller, J. (1991). Jatropha curcas, A multipurpose species for problematic sites A stag technical paper Land resources Series N-1 the world bank Asia technical Department Agriculture Division pp 1-12. Basubutra, R and Sutiponpeibun, S. (1982) Jatropha curcas oil as substitute for diesel engine oil. Renewable energy Review Journal. 4:56-70. Kumar, A. (1987). 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