Jatropha Seeds For Biodiesel


Jatropha seeds are thin shelled ones with back color. They have oblong shape. A Jatropha seed resembles the castor seeds. 2 to 3 large black and oily seeds in a single seed shell.

The matured jatropha seeds are 2 ½ cm long and they can be easily crushed to extract the oil from them. Nearly 33% of oil can be obtained by crushing the seeds. The oil of these seeds is used as a biofuel.

The jatropha seeds are toxic hence they are not used as food product but used to prepare inedible products like biodiesel and fertilizers. The seeds are considered as toxic since they enclose toxalbumin curcin. Still there are some non toxic jatropha seed varieties.

The toxic can be destroyed by roasting the seeds. Since, it contains a high percentage of cleaning oil which is used for candles, soaps and also as a biofuel product.

Biodiesel extracted from jatropha curcas is called as Jatropoha Methyl Ester. The seed of physic nut jatropha has insecticides and fungicides properties in them. The latex of the plant contains alkaloid which has anti cancerous property.
High quality jatropha seeds have the following yield during their yield.

  • Year 1 - 3kg/tree
  • Year 2 - 6kg/tree
  • Year 3 - 9kg/tree
  • Year 4 - 10-12kg/tree
  • Year 5 - 10-15kg/tree

Jatropha seeds can produce 60% oil depending on the following factors:

  • Yielding capacity of the plant
  • Advanced pruning techniques
  • Soil moisture level
  • Soil nutrient level
  • Application of fertilizers
  • Stage of ripening

Jatropha is a diminutive tree or hedge plant. Jatropha can grow to a height of about 3 to 5 meters. If the conditions are favorable they can grow to a height of about 8 to 10 meters. The plant has a gray bark and they emit white water latex when it is chopped.


The leaves of the jatropha plant are large and they appear from green to pale green in color. Alternately to the sub opposite side they have 3 to 5 lobes with spiral phyllotaxis. The leaves of the plant are used to treat many illness and inflammation in the tongue for babies.


The flowers are formed lethally i.e. they are formed terminally and individually. Here in jatropha the male and female flowers blossom separately. And the females are little larger than the males. The length of the petiole ranges from 6 - 23 mm and at the leaf axils the inflorescence are formed. In continuous growing conditions an unbalanced pistillate or staminate production of flowers result in a huge number of female flowers.


The shrubs are leafless during winter giving the way to produce fruits. If the conditions like soil moisture and temperature are good and sufficiently high the crop can bear fruit throughout the year. A bunch of at least 10 ovoid fruits can be seen in a single inflorescence. Once the seeds are matured they form a three or bi-valued cocci are formed with fleshy outer layer. The fruits do not have the capacity to drop on their own they provide place for manual harvest without any damage or wastage.


After 2 to 4 months from the date of fertilization the capsule changes from green to yellow in color. This indicates that the seeds are matured. The blackish and thin shelled seeds are lozenge and they appear to be small castor seeds.

Flowering and fruiting habit

During the dry season the tress are very deciduous and they shed their leaves. And in the wet season flowering occurs. The flowering can be seen throughout the year if the region is humid permanently. After 3 months from flowering the seeds are matured. If there is enough rainfall early growth is possible and the nursery plants will bear their fruits after the first rain itself. Pollination takes place by insects and honey bees play a big part in jatropha pollination.

Jatropha Genus is found to have 172 species with significant economic importance. All these species have their native in Central America and is distributed in Asia and Africa. Some species of jatropha have potential value and some have suitable energy purposes. Different species of the jatropha are widely spread across all over the world.

Here are some of the species of jatropha:
  • Jatropha integerrima
  • Jatropha cardiophylla
  • Jatropha cathartica
  • Jatropha cinerea
  • Jatropha cuneata
  • Jatropha podagrica
  • Jatropha curcas
  • Jatropha glandulifera
  • Jatropha gossypifolia
  • Jatropha multifida
  • Jatropha nana
  • Jatropha podagrica
  • Jatropha tanjorensis

Jatropha has many uses in today's world. Each and every part of the plant is useful in some ways. Even the seed cake produced as a by product is used as an excellent organic fertilizer. Some parts of the plant are used for medical purposes. In short all the parts of the jatropha plant can be used or sold.

Here are some of the uses of jatropha plant:

The non edible vegetable oil extracted from the jatropha plant can be used as an alternative to the diesel oil. The jatropha oil has advantageous physicochemical and the characteristic that is equal to diesel. So cars can use this oil with little change in their design.

The oil can be used as an illuminant without refining

The jatropha oil burns with clear free smoke and flame.

Because of its high saponification the oil is used to make soap in some parts of the world.

Jatrophine an alkaloid material is present in the latex of jatropha which is assumed to have anti cancerous properties.

It is used on the domestic livestock for skin diseases, sore and rheumatism.

The tender wing of the jatropha plant is used for cleaning.

The juice of the leaf is used for piles as an external application.

The roots are believed to act as an antidote for snake bites.

A dark blue dye is extracted from the bark of jatropha. This dye is used as a coloring matter for clothes, fishing nets, and lines.

Jatropha oil cake is used as organic manure since it is rich in potassium, phosphorous, and nitrogen.

Silkworms consume the leaves of the jatropha leaves for their diet.

Jatropha oil is used as a lubricant for machinery and is also used to soften leather.

Apart from the above uses the main use of the jatropha land is that it turns the waste land into money making one. Thus increasing the income and lessening the poverty for women and children of small farmer families.

Other Uses JatrophaSeeds
  • Seeds are used to produce insecticides
  • Jatropha seed is used as a medicine for constipation
  • Oils extracted from jatropha plant is used as biofuel
  • The oil is used in torches and lantern as it burns with clean free smoke
  • The oil is used to soften the leather
  • Used as a lubricant in machinery
  • Also used for making soap
  • Because of excellent combination of potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen the jatropha oil cake is used as organic manure.
  • Used to fight against the skin diseases, rheumatism and as a curative for sores on domestic livestock
  • Dark blue dye from the bark is used for coloring cloths and fish nets
Leaves and Twigs
  • Leaves of jatropha are used as a massage material for strained muscles
  • It is used as a brewed tea to combat malaria
  • Jatropha plant twigs are used to clean the teeth
  • The young leaves of jatropha can be safely eaten by steaming them or cooking it.
  • Powdered jatropha leaves are applied to horses eyes to get rid of the flies since hydrogen cyanide is present in the leaves

Because of HCN the flowers of the jatropha is listed as honey plant


Used as a contraceptive


Root ashes are used as substitute for slat since they contain HCN and Rotenone.


Bark of jatropha is used as a fish poison


Strongly suppresses the mosaic viruses

  • Shrubs of jatropha act as a host for the lac insects
  • It is also used for controlling the erosion

Apart from the uses, the jatropha plant has many advantages. To see complete list of jatropha advantages refer to Advantages of Jatropha.

Though there are number of crops that are available for the production of bio-fuel the question that arises in the mind of the cultivators is that why jatropha should be chosen?

Researchers say that the answer to this question is very simple. They say that cultivating and processing jatropha has many advantages than any other plant.

The following factors made jatropha an advantages one:

  • It is easy to cultivate jatropha. Jatropha can grow on all the climatic conditions and soils hence it is cultivated in most of the places.
  • It is less expensive to cultivate jatropha and most of the jatropha seed varieties are available of less cost.
  • The percentage of yield is high and the extraction of oil is also maximum.
  • Jatropha provides higher rate of output than any other crops.
  • It is very easy to maintain the jatropha plant even at the seedling stage

Jatropha stands as an ideal crop among the bio-diesel crops because of the following reason:

  • Drought resistant
  • Jatropha plant has the ability to grow well on poor and infertility soil, in marginal areas and can withstand any type of climate
  • Needs only little amount water and maintenance
  • The plant can be harvested for about 50 years

Following are the advantages of the jatropha plant:

  • Low cost seeds
  • High oil content
  • Small development period
  • Grow on good and despoiled soil
  • Grow in low and high rainfall areas
  • Does not require any special maintenance
  • Can be harvested in non-rainy season
  • Size of the plant makes the collection of seeds convenient
  • Multi products are developed using a single jatropha plant. The products include bio-diesel, soap, mosquito repellent, and organic fertilizer.

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