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Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Dec;46(12):3621-5. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2008.09.010. Epub 2008 Sep 13.

Toxicity studies of detoxified Jatropha meal (Jatropha curcas) in rats.

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Department of Protein Chemistry and Technology, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Cheluvamba Mansion, Mysore 570020, India.


Jatropha curcas, a tropical plant introduced in many Asian and African countries is presently used as a source of biodiesel. The cake after oil extraction is rich in protein and is a potential source of livestock feed. In view of the high toxic nature of whole as well as dehulled seed meal due to the presence of toxic phorbol esters and lectin, the meal was subjected to alkali and heat treatments to deactivate the phorbol ester as well as lectin content. After treatment, the phorbol ester content was reduced up to 89% in whole and dehulled seed meal. Toxicity studies were conducted on male growing rats by feeding treated as well as untreated meal through dietary source. All rats irrespective of treatment had reduced appetite and diet intake was low accompanied by diarrhoea. The rats also exhibited reduced motor activity. The rats fed with treated meals exhibited delayed mortality compared to untreated meal fed rats (p0.02). There were significant changes both in terms of food intake and gain in body weight. Gross examination of vital organs indicated atrophy compared to control casein fed rats. However, histopathological examination of various vital organs did not reveal any treatment related microscopic changes suggesting that the mortality of rats occurred due to lack of food intake, diarrhoea and emaciation. Further studies are in progress for complete detoxification of J. curcas meal for use in livestock feed.

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