JATROPHA CURCAS: HIGH YIELDIG ACCESSIONS AND IMPROVEMENT. Ashwani Kumar 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. 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 curcas, family Euphorbiaceae is a native plant of Central and South America and has become naturalized throughout semi arid Asia and Africa. Nine species of Jatropha have been reported from India out of which J. curcas is of high commercial value. It has a long history of propagation in India. It can be grown on sites unsuitable for cultivation of annual crops or as hedges around the fields where it protects crops from grazing, wind and water erosion (Jones and Miller, 1991). 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 (Fig. 1). 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. The plant oil can be used as illuminant, lubricant and raw material for soap and candle industry. Oilcake is rich in nitrogen and is used as fertilizer. The seeds contain semidrying oil which can be used as diesel engine fuel for it has characteristic close to those of diesel ( Bhasubutra and Sutiponpeibun, 1982, Raina 19985, Kumar, 1987, Kumar, 1998, Bhojvaid, 2006). Among the available vegetable oils Jatropha curcas oil is most suitable for energy applications (Muhlbauer, et al., 1998). 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. 1. The North West Part of Rajasthan is flat and consists of sand dunes with rainfall less than 35 mm. This area is not suitable for Jatropha growth and cultivation but is suitable for Laticierous crops like Calotropis spp, Euphorbia spp. 2. The South Eastern part is more moderate having rainfall from 35 mm to 1000 mm per annum. This area has great potential for Jatropha cultivation. Jatropha is particularly found wild and growing on hedges in the south Eastern part of Rajasthan. It can grow on variety of soil conditions. It is found growing on stony, gravel, sandy, and clavey soils. However on eroded lands it may not grow to full bloom. It is also adapted to low fertility soils, alkaline soils, sodic soils and degraded and denunded soils. Jatropha enters into symbiosis with root fungi ( mycorrhizae) in phosphate deficient soil.( Reidacker and Roy, 1998) 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. 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. Material and Methods: About 5.5 kg seed was used for the plantation in 1 ha. The plants were raised in polybags 6 cm X 25 cm in the month of March- April. The seeds are 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 cuttings obtained from plants minimum two years of age. The cuttings from 7yrs or older plants had better rate of survival. The 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). The plantation was done by direct or transplanting method. Plants were watered after the rainy season was over at 6 days interval up to six months and thereafter at fortnightly intervals. Frequent irrigation was required during drier period. Plants required much irrigation during the September to December period. The plants flowered during the second year between August to September and then November-January period. The fruiting extended from September to January. The 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. The seed 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. 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. Passport data of the samples collected having oil contents more than 35 percent. S. No. Tree characteristics RU I RU II RU III RUVIII 1. Location of Tree Bhadvi Guda Kavita Gaon Oldar Chaurha Godunda Old Shrinath Ji 2. Plant height (meter) 4.0m 4.5 m 6.0m 5.5m 3. Plant age 10yrs 10 yrs 10yrs 12yrs 4. Plant girth 55cm 80 cm 50cm 65cm 5. Plant canopy 3.3m 8.0 m 10m 7.2m 6. Total seed yield 4.5kg 4.0 kg 3.3kg 4.0kg 7. Time of flowering July/ Oct July/ Oct July/ Oct July/ Oct 8. Weather flowering is once a year or twice a year Twice a Year Twice a Year Twice a Year Twice a Year 9. Time of fruiting Sept/ Nov Sept/ Nov Sept/ Nov Sept/ Nov 10. Seed oil % 35.53 36.41 36.36 35.25 Chemical Composition: Collected accessions have been evaluated by TERI. Fatty acid composition %: Sample Name Palmitic Acid Stearic Acid Oleic Acid Linoleic Acid RU II 13.33 8.7 43.78 31.94 RU III 12.33 6.99 43.74 35.78 RU V 11.51 4.38 42.11 40.03 RU VI 16.62 4.36 32.4 41.53 RU VII 15.86 8.26 38.73 35.61 RU VIII 11.2 8.68 42.1 37.27 RU IX 17.33 4.79 31.4 44.43 RU X 14.98 5.67 36.93 40.9 RU XI 12.64 6.31 40.57 37.35 Samples having Total Unsaturated Fats > 77% 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 Results and Discussion: Depending on soil quality and rainfall, oil can be extracted from the jatropha nuts after two to five years. The annual nut yield ranges from 0.5 to 12 tons. The kernels consist of oil to about 50 percent; this can be transformed into bio-diesel fuel through esterification. In local dilect Jatropha is known as plant of Dunger and the available sites of high yielding accessions lie in the hilly areas of Udaipur.The plant naturally occurs on the hills and estimate about its age could be over ten to thirty years. As it’s not planted on the hills but native to the area any estimation of its age could be only based on the information obtained from local people who are largely illiterate. Likewise estimations of its yield are also based on collections made from the local people for a long period of time. Conclusion: Biodiesel as fuel, it is considered environmentally friendly because it does not produce emissions that pollute the environment, moreover it is used for enlightenment and other industrial usage. 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