City researcher produces better yield of biofuel from Jatropha

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 Nov 2017 08:44:07


By Ajay Mardikar,

Jatropha was projected as plant which can produce biofuel. The process, however, to produce the biofuel was not very appealing. Dr Kasim Khan, who carried out research at Rajiv Gandhi Biotechnology Centre of RTM Nagpur University, was able to isolate and analyse the gene in the same plant for better yield of biofuel.

The research was inspired by growing need of energy for faster economic development of the nation and depleting fossil fuel (oil, gas and coal). The concern for depleting fossil fuel is not restricted to India, but all over the world. New options are being worked out by the researchers. Jatropha curcas can be exploited for biofuel as it belongs to non-edible oil seed crop category and can grow even in non-agricultural land.

Khan worked on isolating and characterising genes that regulate oil biosynthesis in Jatropha seed. Several full length transcription factors were identified. Out of these Khan finally characterised the role of R2R3 MYB transcription factor designated as JcMYB1. To decipher its role, Khan generated transgenics in two other plant seeds Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana tabacum. Dr Khan found increased number of seed yield and larger seed size in Arabidopsis and 20-25% higher seed oil in tobacco.

The study is the first report which provides involvement of JcMYB1 in seed development and oil biosynthesis and also provides novel insight into the regulatory mechanisms for lipid accumulation other than traditional master regulators. It can help in increasing oil content in the seed.

Kasim Khan was awarded PhD for his research, carried under the guidance of Dr Arti Shanware, Director of Rajiv Gandhi Biotechnology Centre and Co-guide Dr Vidhu A Sane, Principal Scientist, CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow.