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Planting Jatropha in Egypt

Within the national programme for safe use of treated sewage water for afforestation, planting Jatropha has been achieved in upper Egypt (Luxor Governorate) by using treated sewage water.

Seedlings were produced by planting Jatropha seeds in polyethylene black bags in greenhouses and that were removed before planting in holes 30*30*30 cm in sandy desert soil and irrigated immediately after planting by treated sewage water that has EC 1.04 and PH 7.47 . Spacing in Jatropha plantation were 3*3 m (466 seedling/feddan, i.e. 1260 seedling/ha). The shrubs were irrigated without any fertilization (organic, minerals and/or foliar application).

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Jatropha forest that produces Biodiesel oil in Luxor Jatropha tillering
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Jatropha flowering and fruiting before ripping in Luxor forest

Jatropha plantation in Luxor has proved to be better than its counterpart in other countries for many reasons. It has a high rate of growth and productivity. Shrubs produce seeds after 18 months of planting seedlings compared with 3 years in other countries. Average yield of tree is 3 - 4 Kg after 2 years and the older the tree grows, the more the yield increases until it reaches 12 -18 Kg per tree.
Moreover, Biodiesel oil was produced and extracted from Jatropha seeds and when it was refined in UK laboratories, it was proved that it has a high productivity level than its counterpart in other countries.

Jatropha is believed to be native of South America, where its shrubs were spread in arid, semi-arid and tropical areas. Jatropha curcas is shrubs or small trees (up to 7 - 10 m high) that belongs to Euphorbiaceae. Its bark papery, peeling, branches thick with viscid sap, sometimes becoming red and gummy. Yellow leaves are 5-lobed or entire, orate rounded, about 8.5 cm long and broad, glabrous; petioles about 11 cm long. Flowers are yellow-green; stamens 8, inner connate; disk deeply, 5-lobed. Fruits are scarcely lobed, ellipsoid capsules about 2.5 cm long, black; seeds 3. Flowers blossom in April; fruits ripe in May.

Oil percentage in seeds is about 35 - 40% in ripping time with 20% saturated fat and 79% unsaturated fat, it is not used for human usage but it is used to produce Biodiesel as fuel, it is considered environmentally friendly because it does not produce emissions that pollutes the environment, moreover it is used for enlightenment and other industrial usage.

It is assured that this vegetable oil plays an important role for commercial needs, whether it is used alone or mixed with diesel oil, it can be used for cars with amendments.

Jatropha shrubs have many usages, they are used by farmers as fences to protect from animals, also they resist soil from wind erosion and help in sand dunes fixation.

It is worth mentioning that Biodiesel oil has become very important in European Union countries and USA. The EU countries mix it (5 - 8 %) with diesel oil for cars and industrial usages as environmental condition. So planting Jatropha is important for its economic productivity.