Review

Antiquity, botany, origin and domestication of Jatropha curcas (Euphorbiaceae), a plant species with potential for biodiesel production

Published: August 16, 2012
Genet. Mol. Res. 11 (3) : 2719-2728 DOI: 10.4238/2012.June.25.6

Abstract

Jatropha curcas is a multi-purpose plant species, with many advantages for biodiesel production. Its potential oil productivity is 1.9 t/ha, beginning the fourth year after planting. Nevertheless, limitations such as high harvest cost, lack of scientific konowledge and low profitability have prevented it from being utilized commercially. In order to provide information that could be useful to improve the status of this species as a bioenergy plant, we elucidated the center of origin and the center of domestication of J. curcas (Mexico). Evidence of the antiquity of knowledge of J. curcas by Olmeca people, who lived 3500-5000 years ago, reinforces its Mexican origin. The existence of non-toxic types, which only exist in that country, along with DNA studies, also strongly suggest that Mexico is the domestication center of this species. In Brazil, the Northern region of Minas Gerais State presents types with the highest oil content. Here we propose this region as a secondary center of diversity of J. curcas.

Jatropha curcas is a multi-purpose plant species, with many advantages for biodiesel production. Its potential oil productivity is 1.9 t/ha, beginning the fourth year after planting. Nevertheless, limitations such as high harvest cost, lack of scientific konowledge and low profitability have prevented it from being utilized commercially. In order to provide information that could be useful to improve the status of this species as a bioenergy plant, we elucidated the center of origin and the center of domestication of J. curcas (Mexico). Evidence of the antiquity of knowledge of J. curcas by Olmeca people, who lived 3500-5000 years ago, reinforces its Mexican origin. The existence of non-toxic types, which only exist in that country, along with DNA studies, also strongly suggest that Mexico is the domestication center of this species. In Brazil, the Northern region of Minas Gerais State presents types with the highest oil content. Here we propose this region as a secondary center of diversity of J. curcas.