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SG Biofuels announces 'elite' jatropha cultivar

February 22, 2010 | 11:15 am


SG Biofuels on Monday revealed a proprietary variety of the jatropha curcas plant that the Encinitas-based company said will yield more oil at a more profitable rate.

The newly launched JMax 100 has traits that make it optimal for harvesting in Guatemala, said the company, which also said it will produce 100% more oil than existing jatropha varieties.

JMax 100 will also be more than 300% more profitable than current commercial varieties, SG said, able to produce more than 350 gallons per acre at $1.39 per gallon.

Oil from the seeds of the jathropa shrub, an inedible plant from Central America that can be grown where agricultural crops cannot, can be refined to produce diesel and jet fuel and specialty chemicals.

The cultivar – a plant variety selected for specific traits - was created after more than three years of research and access to the company’s Genetic Resource Center, which features 6,000 entries. The center also keeps track of a wide range of jatropha’s genetic characteristics, including pest resistance, soil adaptation and flowering capabilities.

SG is also working with the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center to develop another customized cultivar. The company recently announced its partnership with biotechnology firm Life Technologies Corp.

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: SG Biofuels