Biotechnological Improvement of the Biofuel Crop Jatropha curcas
Fatemeh Maghuly, Margit Laimer
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Dept. Biotechnology, Austria
To counteract effects of climate change requires concerted actions to deliver further benefits to reduce both air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, including the use of alternative fuels and biofuel crops. Jatropha curcas (Euphorbiaceae) is currently attracting much attention as a new energy crop, as it can grow in tropical and subtropical climates, under climate and soil conditions that are unsuitable for food production. However, Jatropha has not really been domesticated; most of the Jatropha accessions are toxic, which renders the seedcake unsuitable for use as animal feed. The seeds of Jatropha contain high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which negatively affect the biofuel quality. Fruiting of Jatropha is continuous, thus increasing costs of harvesting. Therefore, before starting any improvement program using conventional or molecular breeding techniques, understanding gene function and the genome scale of Jatropha are prerequisites.
Keywords: Biofuel, energy crop, functional genomics, Jatropha
Contact Address: Margit Laimer, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Dept. Biotechnology, Muthgasse 18, 1190 Vienna, Austria, e-mail: margit.laimerboku.ac.at