Spicy Tidbit: Jatropha Patents

The Jatropha curcas tree has great significance in India due its varied uses, some of which are listed below:
1. seeds are crushed for oil used in lamps
2. oil for soap
3. the leaves have medicinal properties
4. the bark can be used for making dye
5. concentration of potassium in the plant makes for rich organic manure
6. seeds can be used as pesticides.
Most is significant iz that the non-edible vegetable oil of Jatropha has the requisite potential to provide commercially viable alternative to diesel oil since it has desirable physicochemical and performance characteristics comparable to diesel. Cars could be run with Jatropha curcas without requiring much change in design.
Why am I talking about the virtues of this plant on an IP blog?
“Betting big on agri-biotechnology, Nandan Biomatrix is working on transgenics in jatropha curcas which would contain high oil, oleic content with a better yield than the existing species. The company is working on the genetic diversity, DNA fingerprinting apart from marker-assisted selection.
According to V Bhaskar Rao, MD, the company has been doing work in plant material development to crop modeling and genomics. ‘‘We have applied for four patents for jatropha which include process for developing jatropha curcas, hybrids for high oleic content and high seed yield and high oil content and inter-specific hybrid,’’ he said. There are over 175 species in jatropha and the company claims to have understood the mutation breeding programmes in over 90 hybrids. “

The Financial Express reports: “The company has set up a resource centre of 1,000 acres, at Zaheerabad, near Hyderabad, following the need for crop improvement, germplasm accessions and development of superior varieties for agronomic trials, multi-method propagation, etc.
The company has embarked on a large-sale jatropha cultivation spread across Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Jharkand. It is also planning to set up bio-refineries for producing biodiesel across various states. “


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