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April 15, 2024
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FACTS ABOUT JATROPHA PLANT

BY IFY MGBEMENA

The Jatropha genus is a group of flowering plants in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. The most well-known species in this genus is Jatropha curcas, which is commonly called the physic nut or Barbados nut. This species is known for its oil-rich seeds, which have a variety of uses.

It is native to Central America, but it has spread to many tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. It is often found in arid and semi-arid regions.

The Jatropha plant is a drought-resistant shrub or small tree that typically grows to heights up to five meters (16 feet). It typically has four to five angled stems and is characterized by its glossy, green leaves and its red, papery bark. The plant produces small yellow or greenish-yellow flowers which are followed by the development of green, inedible fruits that contain up to three seeds.

Jatropha seeds are rich in oil, containing between 30-50% of their total dry weight, which can be extracted and used for various purposes, particularly biodiesel production.

Some Facts about jatropha plant

*There are about 175 species of jatropha plant.

*It is a non-edible oil bearing plant considered to be a sustainable option for biodiesel

*Jatropha has potential to be grown on unused, under-utilized and marginal lands

*The plant is relatively tolerant to drought and pests.

*Interestingly its seeds are used to produce insecticides.

*Leaves of Jatropha are used as a massage material for strained muscles.

*It produces seeds containing up to 30% to 35% of oil that can be converted to high quality biodiesel

*The jatropha plant holds promise as a source of energy in the aviation and power sectors

*Jatropha oil can also be used for non-energy applications like industrial chemicals, synthesis of natural wax etc.

*Jatropha meal after oil extraction can be used as fertilizer or for energy production

*Detoxified Jatropha kernel meal is a potential source of protein in animal feed formulations.

*It is also used to fight against skin diseases, rheumatism and as a curative for sores on domestic livestock.

*The dark blue dye from the bark is used for coloring clothes and fishnets.

*Jatropha trees are productive for up to 30-40 years.

*Used as “living fence” to ward off crop devouring animals.

*Significantly detoxified Jatropha kernel meal can be used in production of bio-based industrial products like bio glue

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