TISSUE CULTURE AND TRANSFORMATION STUDIES OF JATROPHA CURCAS, A SECOND GENERATION BIOFUEL CROP

Open Access
Author:
Tabatabai, Behnam
Graduate Program:
Environmental Pollution Control
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 15, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Sairam Rudrabhalta, Thesis Advisor
  • Sairam V Rudrabhatla, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • genetic engineering
  • Jatropha curcas
  • biofuel
  • tranformation
  • tissue culture
Abstract:
Jatropha curcas L. (Euphorbiaceae) is an important second generation biofuel crop. In a time when energy needs are coming to the forefront of our nation’s concerns, development and improvement of alternate, sustainable biofuel crops are critical. J. curcas is especially useful because it is a drought-tolerant, non-food crop that can be grown on marginal lands, thus not competing for the fertile agriculture land used for food production. Jatropha seeds contain approximately 40% oil that can be used as a feedstock for biodiesel production. However, one of the limitations of J. curcas is that it is adapted to warm, tropical and subtropical climate and it is susceptible to cold stress. Combining the tools of biotechnology such as tissue culture and genetic engineering, value added traits (e. g. tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress) can incorporated to J. curcas leading to accelerated production of superior cultivars. We report here the development of an efficient protocol for in vitro regeneration of J. curcas using various genotypes and explants (leaf, nodal segment, and embryo). Likewise, a protocol for genetic engineering of J. curcas via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation was also optimized to improve its qualities such as tolerance to abiotic stress and oil yield.