Jatropha curcas grows wild in Udaipur division in Rajasthan. Chattisgarh state and several other nothern states of India Under the micromission programme of Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India under chairmanship of Professor A.K. Sharma and Dr Renu Swarup, Director, and Dr Meenakshi Munshi Senior scientific officer work is being carried out in different states of the country regarding selection of eltie mateiral, its propagation, yield evaluation, genetic characterisation and developing proper agrotechnology.

Under a Department of Biotechnology research project sanctioned to Professor Ashwani Kumar at University of Rajasthan, Jaipur 302004 work was inititiated on collection of eltie material. Several locations have been identified 21 accessions have been collected out of which data has been completed on 11 and 4 out of which are high yielding i.e. heptane extractable oil contents are over 35 percent. Analysis of 19 samples is in progress. Unsaturated fatty acids range over 77 % in four accessions. The oil content analysis was done at Tata Energy Research Institute, New Delhi by Dr Nutan Kaushik.

The application of nutrients improved plant growth but it did not improve the flowering. An attempt was made to improve flowering and fruiting which is reported in our other paper at V1.IV.45 (www.conference-biomass.com). Present study was aimed to increase total oil yield of Jatropha curcas and details of some of the strategies shall be presented here.


With an estimated population of 1.1 billion, India is the world's second most populous country Agriculture is the mainstay of the Indian economy. Agriculture and alliedsectors contribute nearly 22 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP of India),while about 65-70 per cent of the population is dependent on agriculture fortheir livelihood.

Although Jatropha is adapted to low fertility sites and alkaline soils, but in order to obtain economically viable yields fertilizers containing small amounts of calcium, magnesium, and sulfur are used along with Farm Yard Manure and Vermicompost. It grows for nearly 50 years after planting. Mycorrhizal associations have been observed with Jatropha and are known to aid the plant’s growth under conditions where phosphate is limiting.

Some studies have reported 1 kg of farmyard manure/ plus 100 g of Neem waste for every seedling, with a recommendation of 2500 plants per ha totaling to 2.5 t organic fertilizer per ha considerabley improves plant growth.

In addition to this inorganic fertilizers such as N, P and K have been recommended after transplantation and the establishment of the plants. Twenty gram urea + 120 g single super phosphate and 16 g Muriate of potash has been recommended (IARI personal communication).

Specific intolerance with other crops has not been detected. On the contrary the shade can be exploited for shade-loving herbal plants; vegetables such red and green peppers, tomatoes, etc. Intercropping with leguminous crops has also been reported.

However studies on proper agroclimatic conditions suitable for Jatropha cultivation with a view of multilocational trials have not been reported. Rajasthan has an area of 3,42,239 sq km and population of 56,507,188. The climate of Rajasthan is semi-arid to arid. Aravalli hills divide the Rajasthan from north east to north west.

The current distribution shows that introduction has been most successful in the drier regions of the tropics with annual rainfall of 300-1000 mm.

It occurs mainly at lower altitudes (0-500 m) in areas with average annual temperatures well above 20°C but can grow at higher altitudes and tolerate slight frost. It grows on well-drained soils with good aeration and is well adapted to marginal soils with low nutrient content

Present studies aimed at developing agrotechnology for Jatropha cultivation in Rajasthan and yield optimisation with minimum inputs.


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 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 cuttings.


Propagation: It can be carried out through seeds as well as cuttings.

Figure 1. Jatropha raised from seeds and cuttings.

Seeds: Seed sowing in beds as well as polybags must be completed until end of March or first week of April. The late sown seeds show poor growth. Although seeds can also be sown in rainy season starting from June- July until 10th of August but beyond this the seedling growth and shall be very poor and plants will have to remain in the nursery for plantation which will be possible only in the next rainy season as plants in Indian conditions of winter remain dormant from from October to February. It is concluded that best sowing period through seeds is March for the conditions of Rajasthan.

Cuttings: Cuttings from plants at least 2 years of age and measuring over 30 cm can be successfully raised in the month of March alone. Cuttings raised in rainy season suffer from several infections from fungal pathogens as well as white grub, white ants, bacterial infections and root rot fungi. It is concluded that cuttings should not be raised in rainy season.

Treatment of cuttings with 50 ppm Indole butyric acid promoted root growth.

A comparision of the root system of seed grown plants and cutting grown plants indicated that plants from seeds have taproot system with single tap root and 3 to 5 subsidiary roots providing anchorage as well as nutritional availability to the plants.

In contrast to this plants raised through cuttings

Figure 2: Jatropha plant growing in Udaipur division.

Seed weight: Seed weight ranged from 40 to 70 gm per 100 seeds. The seed weight was less in the seeds obtained from Loharu (45g) as compared to Amrit Dairy (55g) (Jhunjhunu District) and EPDPC (67g) Jaipur (Superior germplasm) and 68g from the seeds harvested at Udaipur.

Figure 3. Plant growth during initial period

It is important to take seedlings with minimum plant girth of 2.5 to 3 cm and a height of not less than 60 cm in order to achieve good results. Smaller seedlings give poor performance and should be discarded. There is considerable variation due to several factors in seeds obtained from same source and proper seedling selection at the nursery stage is essential for successful plantation. The genetic variability could be ascribed to open pollination of the plants.

Growth curve. Plant height Stem girth Fresh


3 months 22cm 3.0cm 60g

6 months 27cm 4.0cm 125g

9 months 37.5cm 3.5cm 175g

12 months 45.72cm 4.0cm 200g

15 months 71.12cm 4.5cm 400g

18 months 101cm 4.0cm 500g

Table I: Plant growth during initial period

Figure 4: Effect of potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen and a combination of all the three on the growth of Jatropha curcas.

Control 23cm 2cm 40g

Potassium (30Kg/ha) 28cm 3.5cm 75g

Phosphorus (60Kg/ha) 38.1cm 2.5cm 70g

Nitrogen(120Kg/ha) 40.64cm 3.5cm 100g

N+P+K(120+60+30Kg/ha) 43.18cm 3.8cm 124g

Table 2. Effect of potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen and a combination of all the three on the growth of Jatropha curcas.


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