Variation in seed traits and oil content in 24 Jatropha curcas L. seed sources from Asia, Africa and Papua New Guinea

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This study was carried out to determine the extent of variation in seed traits and oil content among 24 seeds sources of Jatropha curcas from 8 countries in Asia, Africa and Papua New Guinea. There were marked differences in the length (range 15.88-19 mm), breadth (10.20-11.71 mm), thickness (7.95-9.37 mm) and volume index of seed (1337-2000 mm3), weight of seed (42.67-80.20 g) and kernel (18.44-51.04 g), kernel/seed ratio (0.43-0.66), and oil content in seed (18.08-37.89%) and kernel (34.02-59.09%). In general, seeds from Laos, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Thailand were larger and heavier than sources from China and India, but contained lower oil content in seed and kernel. Principal component analysis revealed that seed and kernel weight and oil content in whole seed and in kernel were useful characteristics in explaining the variation pattern among seed sources. Seven out of the 24 seed sources investigated in this study are considered promising for planting for oil-seed production. This study underpins the importance of selecting suitable seed sources for commercial plantation establishment of J. curcas.

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