Jatropha curcas: A potential genetic resource for herbal medicine and liquid bio-fuel

Scientific Essay, 2014

22 Pages




1. Introduction
1.1 Origin and distribution
1.2 Morphological description (See also Anonymous 1959; Singh, 1970; Heller 1996; Raju and Ezradanam, 2002; Bhattacharya et al. 2005; Achten et al 2008; Brittaine and Lutaladio 2010)

2. Propagation and cultivation

3. Utilization
3.1 Pharmacological activities
3.1.1. Anti-bacterial Activity
3.1.2. Anti-fungal activity
3.1.3 Antiviral activity
3.1.4 Anti-inflammatory activity
3.1.5 Anti-oxidant activity
3.1.6. Coagulant and anticoagulant activities
3.1.7. Anti-diarrhoeal activity
3.1.9. Wound healing activity
3.1.10. Insecticidal, larvicidal and anthelmintic activity

4. Phytochemicals

5. Future perspective




Jatropha curcas L. (Euphorbiaceae) is a multipurpose perennial shrub/small tree, native to Mexico and Subtropical America, now grows naturally in most tropical areas of the world. It is an underutilized plant of multiple values. It is cultivated for seeds, having liquid biofuel potential and as live fence for the protection of agricultural crops. Various parts of the J. curcas are globally used for healthcare management of plants, human being and domesticated animals. Besides ethnomedicinal usages, this species have much other ethnobotanical, economic and ecological importance. Present paper deals with origin and distribution, taxonomic description, propagation and cultivation, utilization, pharmacological activities, phytochemical properties and future prospective of this species.

Keywords: Ethnobotany; Ethnomedicine; Euphorbiaceae; Jatropha curcas; Underutilized crop

1. Introduction

The word ‘Jatropha’ is derived from Greek words ‘Jatros’ and ‘trope’ (food/nutrition) which implies medicinal uses. The genus Jatropha belongs to family Euphorbiaceae and subfamily Acalyphoideae, and includes about 175 species. Jatropha curcas L. syn Curcas purgans Medik., Ricinus americanus Miller, Castiglionia lobata Ruiz & Pavon, Jatropha edulis Cerv., J. acerifolia Salisb., Ricinus jarak Thunb., Curcas adansoni Endl., Curcas indica A. Rich., and Curcas curcas (L.) Britton & Millsp etc. is the most important species of the genus. Linnaeus classified the plant in 1753 and gave it the botanical name Jatropha curcas (Heller 1996; Krishnan and Paramathma 2009; USDA plant database). It has 2n = 22 chromosomes (Soontornchainaksaeng and Jenjittikul 2003; Jha et al. 2007; Carvalho et al, 2008). It is commonly known as physic nut, purging nut, barbados nut, and nutmeg plant in English. Other vernacular names of J. curcas are pinhão manso, mundubi-assu (Brazil), pourghère (French), purgeernoot (Dutch), purgiernuss (German), purgeira, pinha˜o-manso (Portuguese), fagiola d’India (Italian), galamaluca (Mozambique), kadam (Nepal), yu-lu-tzu (Chinese), habel meluk (Arab), kananaeranda, parvataranda (Sanskrit), safed arand, bagbherenda, jangaliarandi, ratanjot (Hindi), mogalierenda, erandagachh, ranayerendi, jamalgota, nepalamu, peddanepalamu, kadalamannku, kattamankku, adaluharalu, karnocchi, kattavanaka, jahazigzba, bongalibhotorna, borbandong (various parts of India), sabudam (Thai), bagani (Ivory Coast), butuje funfun (Nigeria), makaen (Tanzania), piñoncillo (Mexico), tempate (Costa Rica) and piñon (Guatemala) (Anonymous 1959; Heller 1996; Carvalho et al., 2008; Brittaine and Lutaladio 2010, Erinoso and Aworinde, 2012).

1.1 Origin and distribution

The origin of J curcas remains controversial as it can be found over a wide range of countries in Central and South America. It is native to Central America, but now grows naturally in most tropical areas of the world (Burkill 1994; Heller 1996; Openshaw, 2000, Fairless 2007). Portuguese introduced J. curcas in Asia and Africa as an oil yielding plant. In India it occurs in wild, semi wild and cultivated state in almost all biogeographical zones from the coastal areas to the outer Himalayan ranges (Anonymous, 1959).

1.2 Morphological description (See also Anonymous 1959; Singh, 1970; Heller 1996; Raju and Ezradanam, 2002; Bhattacharya et al. 2005; Achten et al 2008; Brittaine and Lutaladio 2010)

J curcas is a multipurpose perennial shrub/small tree of 3-6 m height. It may be evergreen or deciduous, depending on climate. It has a short tap root, robust laterals, and many fine tertiary roots. The stem is woody, erect, cylindrical, solid and branched. Branches are stout, green, and semi woody. Leaves are palmate and have 5 to 7 shallow lobes and are arranged in alternate with spiral phyllotaxis. Length and widths of leaves varies from 16 to 21 and 14 to 18 cm and are cauline and ramel, ex-stipulate, petiolate. Petioles are 12–19 cm long. Venation is multicostate, reticulate, and divergent type.

J curcas is monoecious and the terminal inflorescences contain unisexual greenish yellow 17-105 male and 2-19 female flowers in loose panicle of cymes. The ratio of male to female flowers ranges from 13:1 to 29:1. The inflorescence is composed by a main florescence and a distinct coflorescence. There are nodes on the upper pedicels of male (staminate) flowers, and no node on the upper pedicels of female (pistillate) flowers. The flowers are tiny (about 7 mm), unisexual, regular, petals are oblong and light green in colour, and sepals are quinquepartite. Androecium is absent in female flower, present in male flower with ten stamens. Stigma are six furcated, dorsifixed and introrse. Gynoecium is absent in male flowers, but present in female flowers and is tricarpellary, syncarpous with trilocular, and superior ovary. Flowers are pollinated by moths and bees. Fruits trilocullar, ellipsoidal, sudrupaceous. The exocarp remains fleshy until the seeds become mature, finally separating into three cocci. The fruit is 2.5-3.5 cm long to 2-2.5 cm wide. Seeds are black, oblong, 2.5 to 3 cm long and 1 cm thick, more or less spherical or ellipsoidal (Figure 1). Seed weight (10 seed) ranges from 53-77 g which contains 13.06-42.41 % oil content.

2. Propagation and cultivation

J. curcas can be easily propagated by seed, stem cutting, grafting, air layering, and tissue culture. Plantation of direct seedlings or pre-cultivated seedlings and direct planting of cuttings methods are suitable for large scale cultivation. In agro-forestry and intercropping systems direct seeding should be preferred over pre-cultivated plants, as the taproot of directly seeded plants is believed to penetrate in deeper soil layers. Cuttings of 25-120 cm from one year old branches can be planted directly in field or in nursery bed/polythene bags for first root development during rainy season. In case of generative propagation seeds can be pre-treated with cow-dung slurry (12 hours) or cold water (24 hours) before showing in nursery beds/ polythene bags filled with sandy-loam soil and compost (1:1 ratio). Seeds should be shown three months before rainy season in nursery and during rainy season in case of direct showing in field (Heller, 1996, Openshaw 2000, Kausik and Kumar 2006; Achten et al. 2008; Brittaine and Lutaladio 2010).

There is growing surge in cultivation of J. curcas worldwide, but it is still a wild plant and its basic agronomic properties and environmental effects have yet to be analysed. The limited knowledge of agronomic practices, diseases and insect pest management are major constrains in successful cultivation of J. curcas as a biofuel crop. Sandy and gravelly well-drained and aerated soils is most suitable for cultivation of J curcas; however, it can grow on large range of soil but unable to tolerate water logging conditions in heavy clay soils. Optimum soil pH for J curcas is 6 to 8; however, it can grow in soils from 5.5 to 9.0 pH range. It can grow in 250 to 3000 mm per annum rainfall regime, but at least 600 mm annual rainfall is required for flowering and fruiting. It can tolerate high temperature but cannot tolerate frost. 19.30 to 27.20 C is optimum temperature for J curcas. It can grow in marginal soils with low nutrient content, but in order to get commercial seed production appropriate fertilizer input is required. Organic fertilizer is better on marginal and degraded sites. Unfortunately, there is insufficient data on response to fertilizer application on seed production so it is not possible to make specific recommendations for fertilizer input under different agro-climatic conditions; more research is required in this regard. Field preparation for J curcas cultivation includes clearing of land, labelling and preparation of pits. Pits can be dug either manually (30-45 x 30-45 x 30-45 cm3) or with drill machine (30-45 cm diameter and 1 m depth) before rainy season and refilled with soil, sand and fertilizer. J curcas may be planted at 2 x 2 or 3 x 3 m2 distance in the field during rainy season and requires 1100-2500 saplings or seeds per hectare. Plants should be irrigated just after plantation and requires regular care and irrigation during first year. Weeding and pruning are important management practices for commercial seed production as former reduces competition and latter increases number of branches resulting more flowering and fruiting. Though, J curcas is not palatable to livestock, but there is need to protect the plantations in early stages of their development to prevent massive destruction by roaming grazers (Foidl et al. 1996; Heller 1996; Tiwari et al. 2007; Achten et al. 2008; Maes et al. 2009; Behera et al. 2010; Brittaine and Lutaladio 2010; Sop et al. 2011). Recently Paclobutrazol and Benzyladenine treatment has been reported to increase seed yield significantly (Ghose et al. 2011; Pan et al. 2011). Two kg Farm Yard Manure (organic manure)/ planting pit and nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium at 10 g, 20 g, and 10 g, respectively and Irrigation at 30 days interval is recommended in degraded soil (Singh et al. 2013). Harvesting and separation of seeds from fruits are done manually. Seeds should be dried to maintain moisture content up to 6-9% before oil extraction. The extraction of the oil can be done by various mechanical or chemical techniques (Achten et al. 2008).

As for as diseases and insect pests are concerned, J curcas is attacked by many pathogens and insects pests (Heller 1996; Grimm 1999; Shankar and Dhyani 2006; Ambika et al. 2007; Tewari et al. 2007; Latha et al. 2009; Pereira et al. 2009; Kumar et al 2010; Rao et al. 2011; Wu et al. 2011). Fruit feeding by Scutellera perplexa may led to premature fruit and seed abortion and reduction in yield (Sahai et al. 2011). Termites may cause severe damage at certain sites (Sop et al. 2011). Regular irrigation and fertilizer application in commercial monocultures is expected to enhance infestations of these insect pests and disease as observe in most of food and fibre crops, so the use of pesticides from the beginning of the plantings is recommended (Heller 1996; Achten et al. 2008; Fitt 2011; Sop et al. 2011).

3. Utilization

J curcas is emerging as an interesting multipurpose species within academic, civil society and policy makers. The seed oil can be easily converted into liquid biofuel which meets the American and European standards (Azam et al. 2005; Fairless 2007; Tiwari et al. 2007). Various parts of J. curcas can be used for healthcare management of plants, animals, and human being (Table 1). Besides biofuels and healthcare management, J. curcas is also useful to control soil erosion and improved water infiltration, to reclaim wasteland, phytoremediation of various contaminated soils, livestock barrier and land demarcation or live fence around agricultural fields, fuel wood, and support for vanilla, green manure, soil carbon sequestration and sustainable environmental development. Other economic products obtained from various parts of J. curcas are glycerol, soap, cosmetics, varnish, dye, molluscicide, pesticide, fertilizer, synthesis of silver nano-particles (Heller 1996; Mangkoedihardjo and Surahmida, 2008; Bar et al. 2009; Jameel et al. 2009; Sharma et al. 2009; Agamuthu et.al., 2010; Brittaine and Lutaladio 2010; Pandey et al. 2012; Warra 2012). Seeds are toxic for human (Kulkarni et al. 2005) and animal and are used as ordeal poisons for internal use in Africa (De Smet 1998). Seed cake may also be used for human consumption after treatment (Schuh and Schuh 2012).


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Jatropha curcas: A potential genetic resource for herbal medicine and liquid bio-fuel
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Ethnobotany, Ethnomedicine, Jatropha, Euphorbiaceae
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Dr. Akhilesh Kumar (Author), 2014, Jatropha curcas: A potential genetic resource for herbal medicine and liquid bio-fuel, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/284581


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