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Indian J Exp Biol. 2012 Jul;50(7):502-10.

Biodiesel production from seed oil of Cleome viscosa L.

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  • 1School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India.


Edible oil seed crops, such as rapeseed, sunflower, soyabean and safflower and non-edible seed oil plantation crops Jatropha and Pongamia have proved to be internationally viable commercial sources of vegetable oils for biodiesel production. Considering the paucity of edible oils and unsustainability of arable land under perennial plantation of Jatropha and Pongamia in countries such as India, the prospects of seed oil producing Cleome viscosa, an annual wild short duration plant species of the Indogangetic plains, were evaluated for it to serve as a resource for biodiesel. The seeds of C. viscosa resourced from its natural populations growing in Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi areas of Aravali range were solvent extracted to obtain the seed oil. The oil was observed to be similar in fatty acid composition to the non-edible oils of rubber, Jatropha and Pongamia plantation crops and soybean, sunflower, safflower, linseed and rapeseed edible oil plants in richness of unsaturated fatty acids. The Cleome oil shared the properties of viscosity, density, saponification and calorific values with the Jatropha and Pongamia oils, except that it was comparatively acidic. The C. viscosa biodiesel had the properties of standard biodiesel specified by ASTM and Indian Standard Bureau, except that it had low oxidation stability. It proved to be similar to Jatropha biodiesel except in cloud point, pour point, cold filter plugging point and oxidation stability. In view of the annual habit of species and biodiesel quality, it can be concluded that C. viscosa has prospects to be developed into a short-duration biodiesel crop.

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