Factors that influence in Jatropha curcas L. latex production
ABSTRACT Latex from Jatropha curcas L. exhibits biotechnological potential for the development of biodiesel and drugs. Little is known about the collection methods and latex productivity of this species. In order to garner information on the use of J. curcas latex, factors that influence production by this species were assessed. As a result, no significant difference was found between the volume of latex collected in the stem and the branches. With respect to environmental characteristics, climatic conditions, such as low temperatures and rainfall, affected production. The period of low temperatures and leaf fall occurs after fruit harvest and, in the absence of strong sinks, the plant can use the assimilates to generate greater latex production. Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that latex production is positively associated with plant height and negatively associated with fruit production and other variables that maximize it. During the fruiting process the plant uses most of the assimilates for fruit development and a lower percentage to produce secondary compounds, resulting in less availability of these metabolites for latex production. In general, the latex production obtained from this species is low and limits commercial exploitation of this compound, despite its possible pharmacological potential.