Archive | August 2, 2011

Potential Anti-Cancer Drug Used as Biofuel

Potential Anti-Cancer Drug Used as Biofuel


By Hwaa Irfan


Jatropha curcas is the name of a castor oil plant that would have little meaning to us because it is not a food, or a commonly used medicinal plant. However, it is a plant that could play a significant role in global health if it was explored enough to challenge the plantations of Jatropha curcas being cultivated for the sole purpose of biofuels.

Jatropha curcas is a plant native to Africa, Asia, and South America, and has become naturalized in South Egypt. It is a low growing tree that produces seeds within a year, can keep on producing seeds for up to 5 years, the plant is useful for up to 50 years, the seeds produce 37% oil, the kernels 60% oil, and the seeds can yield 0.75 to 2 tons of biodiesel per hectare. If all eyes are on its production level at  time when looking to turn a fast profit for a growing market despite being unsustainable then Jatropha curcas is the plant to process.


Jatropha curcas is one of those plants that can grow anywhere quite literally, no matter how poor the quality of the soil. In the winter months, the leaves shed to form a mulch around the plant which increases the activity of earth worms, the creatures that turn the soil improving soil fertility. In fact, Jatropha curcas is known for its ability to stop soil erosion, and to prevent the shifting of sane dunes.

Other Uses

The high saponification content of the oil has found its way into the production of soaps, and as a smokeless illuminate. Research by the Food and Agricultural Organization has shown that the alkaloid, jatrophine to contain anti-cancerous properties, and to be extremely beneficial for skin diseases, rheumatism, and sores when applied to the skin of livestock. The twigs are good for cleaning the teeth, and the juice from the leaf is good when applied externally to piles. The roots have been used an antidote for snake bites, and the bark as a dye. The FAO have also found that:

  • Jatropha oil cake is rich in nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium and can be used as organic manure.
  • The seeds are considered anthelimintic in Brazil, and the leaves are used for fumigating houses against bed-bugs.
  • The ether extract shows antibiotic activity against Styphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.

In Indonesia, the idea “Treat the jatropha plant as well as possible to make the harvest as large as possible!” was promoted as the oil was used to lubricate machinery for the Japanese WWII effort, and as well as for fuel.

Jatropha Oil as Biofuel

Sun Biofuels of Mozambique are boasting their first batch of 30 tonnes of unrefined Jatropha Oil from the province of Manica. Using 3,000 hectares, and only employing a 1,000 workers, a tonne on the international market goes for US$900 and US$950 although the company has yet to make revenue. Once exported, the real profit will be made, as Jatropha Oil  is turned into a biosynthetic kerosene. Sun Biofuels is a subsidiary of the U.K.-based Sun Biofuels. This batch will be tested on Lufthansa planes, as burning of Jatropha oil requires no modification to engines.

It takes 100 kilos of Jatropha seeds to produce 35 liters of oil. In India, the average agriculturalist earns U.S.$40 per month when biodiesel is 16-20p per litre. Four hectares can be managed by 1 employee, while 1 hectare of Jatropha yields annually 25,000 Rupees/£300.

The residue from oil production could be used as fertilizer, feedstock and for fuel, skin friendly soap, but the soil erosion factor is compromised by the continual harvesting of the trees. Irrelevant to corporations Daniels Midland Company, Bayer CropScience and Daimler AG have been working jointly on Jatropha.

However, as easy as Jatropha is to grow, with changing climatic conditions, nothing can be guaranteed as Jatropha needs a minimum of 600 mm of rain annually to thrive, but can survive 3 years in a drought.

In fact, if Jatropha can be cultivated amongst cash crops, there is  a greater argument for the mass plantation of Jatropha in famine hit regions, for the domestic consumption of the oil as cooking fuel, feedstock, veterinary medicine, and as biofuel for local consumption. Famine struck communities can also benefit from trade by producing organic skin friendly soap, antibacterial (especially as Jatropha is effective against Escherichia coli infection which is so prevalent in the west) and anti-cancerous medicines.


Mozambique: First Exports Of Bio-Fuels To European Markets

Reyadh, M. “The Cultivation Of Jatropha Curcas In Egypt.”

Related Topics:

Biofuels Increasing Food Prices

Earth Grab: No to a Biomass Economy

Food Revolution: Bolivia’s National Model for Food Sovereignty!

Our Humanity Stands Tested Again!

Africa: GM Crop Take-up on the Rise Despite Evidence

Synthetic Proteins: Cascading Effects of U.S. Unhealthy Food

Is Your Stomach Reproducing GMO Bacteria?

Food Revolution: Taking Control of One’s Food Supply

Monsanto: Controlling Our Food Supply

Quinoa: The Health Fad that is Starving the Cultivators

The Yanomami and the Yew Tree That Fights Cancer

Behind the Food Price Crisis!

Rigging U.S. Elections

Rigging U.S. Elections


From Alexandra Bruce

In a sworn-oath deposition, a software programmer testifies that US elections are rigged and that US Representatives tried to pay him to rig their election vote counts.

Related Topics:

Corporations Watch: An American Voter’s Guide

Cheney Authorized Pentagon Hit on 9/11‏

U.S./NATO Atrocities Against Libya

Statement on the UK Government’s Military Involvement in Libya

Oil vs. Communities: Has the Chicken Come Home to Roost for ExxonMobil!

Ramadan Reflections- We begin with Mercy‏

Ramadan Reflections- We begin with Mercy‏

Text Summary:

The beginning of Ramadan is mercy and our beloved prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was described as “a mercy for all of humanity”. When we reflect on the fact that he was the most “perfect example” we need to ask ourselves, “What can I learn from him” and “what can I implement in my life that I have learnt from how he, peace be upon him, lived?”.
One of the things he taught us is that, Allah shows mercy to those who show mercy. If we want God to be merciful to us, we need to show mercy to His creation- people, animals, the environment. How can we turn to God and ask for His mercy when we are the least merciful to His creation?

We should also reflect on where/how we show mercy. Do we show mercy to everyone else, except in our own homes? What will our families say about us? Do we show some groups of people mercy and others none- why? Today, we have attained whatever we have because others were merciful to us. Sometimes, we become judgemental and get onto a “moral high horse” forgetting the many mistakes we have made. Abu Darda, may Allah be pleased with him said, ” hate the sin, not the sinner” and Jesus peace be upon him reminded us, “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”.  Instead we should remember that we all make mistakes- no one is perfect. You and I have all made mistakes and needed other people to be merciful to us. We need to return this to others, starting with ourselves, our families, our communities and the world. Today, let us focus on doing at least one good deed that reflects the characteristic of mercy.

Related Topics:

Pre-Ramadhan Reflections

Keep Ramadhan Simple!

Ramadhan 2011


Letter to the Self #30 Remember Me

Letter to the Self #29 Forgiveness

Letter to Self # 28: Those We Ignore
Letter to the Self # 27: Destination or the Journey!
Letter to the Self # 26: Change
Letters to the Self #25: Window of Opportunity
Letters to the Self #24: More Than You Think You Are Able
Letters to the Self #23: Submission
Letter to the Self #22: Do You Have Trust Issues?
Letter to the Self #21: Possessions
Letter to the Self #20: Sacred Spaces
Letter to the Self # 19: The Big “I”
Letter to the Self # 18: Insecurities
Letter to the Self # 17: Backbiting
Letter to the Self # 16: Knowledge or Just Information?
Letter to the Self # 15: Beyond the Limited Self
Letter to the Self # 14: A Better Way
Letter to the Self # 13: The Spoken Word
Letter to the Self # 12: A Blessing or a Curse?
Letter to the Self # 11: Purpose

Letter to the Self #10: Let’s Partey
Letter to the Self #9: Looking Good
Letter to the Self #8: Worship
Letter to the Self #7: Rights of the Body
Letter to the Self#6: Time
Letter to the Self #5: Gratitude
Letter to the Self #4: Laziness

Letter to the Self #2: Ego
Letter to the Self #3: Arrogance

Shaban: Letters to the Self