Non-toxic Jatropha


Jatropower Key Focus Area: Non-Toxic Jatropha

Jatropower has pioneered the development and commercialisation of non-toxic jatropha varieties

Non-toxic jatropha occurs naturally in Mexico. It is locally known there as “Xuta”.

Xuta has been traditionally used in several Mexican states as human food ingredient.

It is consumed after roasting, or mashed and cooked along with meat, or used to make sweet breads.

Xuta plant is largely similar in appearance to conventional jatropha, but shows the following differences:

  • Xuta lacks phorbol esters – the toxic principles in conventional jatropha – in its seeds
  • The fruit stalk of Xuta is longer compared to conventional jatropha
  • Xuta fruits are oblong shaped compared to spherical fruits in conventional jatropha
  • Xuta shows a more open canopy structure

Jatropower’s premier non-toxic jatropha parent is shorter in size compared to conventional jatropha

Jatropower non-toxic varieties in pipeline, showing open canopy, long fruit-stalks and oblong fruits

Advantages of Non-toxic jatropha

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

This revenue projection is based on the following:

  • Crude oil price of 100$/barrel and without any subsidies/tax exemptions for biofuel;
  • The seed cake produced by crushing full seeds of conventional jatropha can at best be used as fertilizer. It is usually not suitable as fuel because of high N content. 75€/ton assumed as expected maximum price;
  • Price of non-toxic seed kernel meal equivalent of soybean meal at around 330€/ton;
  • Shell valued at a minimum price of 75€/ton as shell has a calorific value of over 18MJ/kg.

Jatropower’s commercial non-toxic jatropha variety

The first ever commercial non-toxic jatropha plant, JPNT-1 (one-year old plant in pic), early flowering and high yielding

Wild non-toxic varieties usually show lower seed yields compared to wild conventional jatropha. Through selection, purification and breeding over the last 10 years, we have developed non-toxic jatropha plants that are comparable to elite conventional jatropha varieties.

Presently we are marketing one elite non-toxic jatropha cultivar, JPNT-1; other exciting genotypes are in the pipeline.

See Video: JP Non Toxic Jatropha Plants

Selected characteristics of JPNT-1 seeds

Accession No.100 seed weight (g)Kernel (%)Oil content (% in DM)Free Fatty acids (% in oil)
JPNT 155-6562-6438-410.6 – 0.8

Fatty acid composition of seed oil of JPNT-1 compared to average toxic varieties

Conventional jatropha13- 140.9 - 1742 – 4631 – 36

Protein content and phorbol ester content of JPNT-1 kernel cake compared to average toxic varieties

 Crude Protein (% DM)Phorbol ester content (mg/g dry de-oiled kernel meal)
JPNT-158-61< 0.05
Conventional jatropha58-612.5

Small-scale non-toxic jatropha seed processing

 Jatropower has developed small scale machinery for the following in collaboration with engineering partners:

  • Deshelling: unto 90% efficiency has been achieved in deshelling of jatropha seeds into shell and kernel.
  • Kernel crushing: highly efficient extraction of oil has been achieved in a small-scale pilot kernel crushing plant, with less than 3% residual oil in the kernel meal

See Video: Jatropha kernel crushing press

Further optimisation of the processing machinery is being undertaken at our research centre in India to reach the goal of a robust, affordable and scalable processing solution for any scale of non-toxic jatropha seed production.

Further reading on non-toxic jatropha

More details regarding edible Jatropha plants can be obtained at our publications on the subject:

Relevant publicly available literature on non-toxic jatropha: