Masters Theses


Sarthak Gaur


"There has been significant research on biofuels to ensure national security and economic stability of the US. Jatropha curcas, a hardy plant, holds tremendous potential as a biodiesel source and cattle feed-stock largely due to its high triglyceride and crude protein content. However, its viable economic utilization is limited due to the presence of important toxic compounds, phorbol esters. A novel and efficient process has been developed that obtains high yields of jatropha oil and detoxifies the defatted (oil free) jatropha meal. Principles of solid-liquid extraction were utilized to detoxify the meal and then liquid chromatography was employed to analyze it. In the proposed approach, various polar and nonpolar solvents were utilized for several extraction cycles. The highly nonpolar solvents were experimented for extracting the triglycerides. Due to the polar nature of phorbol esters attributed to the presence of hydroxyl functionalities, high-polarity solvents like methanol, ethanol, and isopropyl alcohol were experimented to selectively remove the phorbol esters from defatted meal. All the extractions were carried out in an ultrasonic bath (sonicator) or extraction tubes (soxhlets). Phorbol esters in raw meal, extracted oil, and defatted meal were characterized using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Analysis showed that extraction of ground seed kernels in soxhlets involving a sequential combination of hexanes, followed by methanol was highly efficient in detoxifying the meal. Results showed that the phorbol ester content was reduced by 99.63% from 6.05 mg/g in untreated meal to about 0.06 mg/g in solvent-treated meal, which is well below the value of 0.11 mg/g found in the nontoxic Mexican accession of jatropha seed"--Abstract, page iii.


Kapila, Shubhender
Book, Neil L.

Committee Member(s)

Lee, Sunggyu


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Chemical Engineering


Novus (Firm)


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Fall 2009


x, 57 pages


© 2009 Sarthak Gaur, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Biodiesel fuels -- Research
Biomass energy -- Research
Jatropha -- Industrial applications

Thesis Number

T 9575

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