Why do we need to breed Jatropha?
Why can’t we just use available ecotypes and clones?
Plant breeding is the most cost-effective way to achieve an increased and stable yield. While native Jatropha or outstanding individuals that can readily be cloned offer an already-substantial yield and drought tolerance, plant breeding would allow for continuous increase and release of ever more productive varieties. In industrial terms, this increase will translate to, for example, oil with increased oxidative stability and other properties that will lower the cost of making biodiesel and enhance its quality. Varieties with higher oil content in percent of dry weight will also provide increased revenue per working-hour for the farmers. The development of non-toxic varieties will allow farmers to have additional markets for their product (not just biodiesel). Jatropha cake meal is protein rich, making it a highly attractive animal feed. Making Jatropha seeds edible will increase its economic value (two income-generating products instead of one). The ‘green revolution’ for major cereals would not have been made possible without the release of outstanding varieties. A new green revolution will require also new outstanding energy crop varieties.
Jatropha is genetically diverse for many of the traits of interest
Plant breeding and recurrent selection will allow the creation of varieties with outstanding performance for all the traits being selected. Due to Jatropha curcas’ high genetic diversity, we expect to make major gains from breeding
Variation in Jatropha curcas (Haiti): Leaf size
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