Jatropha is a drought-resistant shrub with a set of unique properties.  It is a drought-resistant shrub that helps alleviate soil degradation and prevents wind and water soil erosion, allowing reforestation and restoration of degraded land.  Additionally, Jatropha sheds its leaves during the dry season, allowing for soil enrichment and long-term improved soil fertility.  It is often used as a living hedge or fence by farmers in the developing world.  The physic nut is a bush that can grow in most regions around the equator.  It has few requirements with respect to its environment.  Because of this, the physic nut can grow in areas that are unsuitable for other plants, because they are too dry or too arid, or because they have been left by humans because of soil depletion.

A Jatropha breeding program

Our planned or ongoing activities

The most diverse collection of Jatropha in the world

Our breeding program

Seed Processing and Oil extraction

Feeding trials


A Jatropha breeding program in Haiti,
breeding and releasing Jatropha varieties for the whole developing world

Our research program will be based in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which have a wide range of habitats and presents many environmental and economic problems that can be addressed by our research.

The island's climate is mainly tropical with some semiarid regions conditions where mountains, in the east, cut off the trade winds.  Haiti and the DR are located within the Jatropha’s natural range (Central America, South America, and the Caribbean).  Rainfall patterns range from as low as 400 mm of water per year to above 2000 mm, and altitudes range from sea level to above 2,500 meters covering the germplasm and breeding needs for most regions of sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, and India.


Our planned or ongoing activities

       Breeding high yielding, high oil, high protein edible Jatropha hybrids

       Diverse germplasm collection – evaluation & genotyping

       Ag Best practices

       Evaluating the Jatropha oil-fuel market (stoves, generators/engines, transportation fuel)

       Nutritional quality
(Chicken and Tilapia feeding trials)

       Mapping risks and opportunities (GIS)

       Business incubator:  production & transformation

       Socio-economic impacts studies (growers income, wealth creation, energy and food security)



The most diverse collection of Jatropha in the world



We assessed the genetic diversity of a part of our original collection by genotyping by sequencing.  It was the first time that this new technology was used in Jatropha (paper under preparation - collaboratiion with Patrick Brown's lab at University of Illinois)

Our collection is truly unique and we have collected populations with a tremendous amount of genetic variation that we are using to breed the varieties of tomorrow.



Breeding program

We have characterized and are using a natural source of male sterility from Jatropha’s wild forests. 

We are investigating the nature of heterosis in jatropha and we are creating populations belonging to distinct heterotic group (reciprocal recurrent selection)

We are testing the first EDIBLE Jatropha hybrids

variety trials


Seed Processing and Oil extraction

We are assessing the most adequate technologies for seed processing, oil extraction and the preparation of the Jatropha meal.

We have obtained a partially deffated meal with >51% proteins that we are testing for the feeding of monogastrics





Feeding trials

We have been testing our edible Jatropha meal in both broilers and layers

We have achieved full/complete soymeal substitution with no penalty on growth rate and conversion ratio



Chicken trials




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