It is a perennial, monoecious plant that belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family, endemic from Mexico and Central America. It is cultivated in Central America, Africa and Asia.
The J. curcas plant is drought resistant and grows in poor, sandy and loam soils in tropical and semitropical climates, whose altitudes range from 0 to 1600 m. The latex from the leaves has been used in traditional medicine, and the plant has also been used as a living fence and as a tool in the reforestation of eroded areas.
The seeds contain various toxic components (phorbol esters, trypsin inhibitors, lectins and phytates); nevertheless, in some regions of Mexico there are reportedly edible seeds, indicating the existence of varieties with low toxicity. The seeds contain a hard Shell (testa) which represents about 37% of the total weight, and its interior features a soft white grain (kernel), which represents the remaining 63%. Dry seeds have a moisture content of about 7% and contain a range of 32 to 40% content of oil.
The seed oil can be converted to biodiesel by transesterification. The conversión of J. curcas oil to biodiesel for biodiesel purposes has been clearly demonstrated by several researchers.
Fatty acid profile of the J. curcas oil:
|Fatty acid||Percentage (%)|
Calle 60 Diagonal No. 490 entre 59 y 61,
Parque Industrial Yucatán. C.P. 97300,
Mérida, Yucatán, México
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