Benefits for non-toxic Jatropha


Plantations of non-toxic Jatropha potentially increases revenue by 25% compared to toxic

The Jatropha plant is usually toxic, however, non-toxic, edible Jatropha varieties occur naturally. The difference between the toxic and non-toxic Jatropha is the presence of plant secondary compounds called phorbol esters in the seeds and other plant parts of the former.

Seed yield is the key profit driver for any successful commercial Jatropha plantation, but as the extractable oil content of Jatropha seeds is around 35%, the commercial viability would also depend on the revenues generated by the remaining ca 65% consisting of shell and seed kernel meal.

While shell and seed kernel meal from toxic Jatropha can only be used as fertiliser in their natural condition, the seed kernel meal from non-toxic Jatropha can be used as animal feed. This allows to generate potentially around 25% higher revenues from seeds.

This revenue projection is based on the following:

  • Crude oil price of 100$/barrel and without any subsidies/tax exemptions for biofuel;
  • Toxic seed cake at best to be used as fertiliser. It is usually not suitable as fuel because of high N content. 75€/tonne assumed as expected maximum price;
  • Price of non-toxic seed kernel meal equivalent of soybean meal at CME of 330€/tonne;
  • Shell valued at a minimum price of 75€/tonne as shell has a calorific value of over 18MJ/kg.

Seed kernel meal of non-toxic Jatropha is comparable to soybean meal as an animal feed ingredient. The high nutritional quality of heat treated non-toxic Jatropha kernel meal was proved in feeding experiments with fish and rats.

Body weight development of common carp fed a non-toxic Jatropha kernel meal diet compared to control

Data extracted from N. Richter (Richter, N., 2012. Evaluation of suitability of non-toxic and detoxified Jatropha curcas L. meal as feed for fingerling common carp, Cyprinus carpio L.: with reference to phytase application. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany) show e.g. equal body weight development of common carp fed on a fish meal based control diet (45% by weight fish meal) as on a diet where 87% of the fish meal was replaced by heat treated non-toxic Jatropha kernel meal.

More details regarding edible Jatropha plants can be read in our refereed publication on the subject at: