Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/18/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: There has been a renewed interest in evaluation and development of alternate crops to meet the continuing demand for fuels, chemicals, and raw materials. Rubbervine is a perennial laticiferous climbing woody shrub of the western Ghats of India which grows profusely with minimal agronomic management and survives extreme environmental conditions and is suitable for annual harvesting. The objective of the study was to analyze the phytochemicals of rubbervine plants as a potential new energy source. Plants contained 14% protein, 6.5% oil, 6.9 % polyphenols, and 2.1% hydrocarbons. The gross heat content of the oil was higher than anthracite coal, while the heat content of the hydrocarbons was higher than crude (petroleum) oil. The hydrocarbon fraction contained compounds similar to natural rubber. Plant oil contained 67% saturated and 33% unsaturated fatty acids. The high oil content (>5%) indicated the this species has the potential of producing raw industrial materials as alternate source to conventional oil. The species has the potential to flourish in marginal arid lands where it would not compete with conventional agricultural crops. The biomass yield of the species is not known, but it has a rapid growth rate suitable for annual harvesting.
Technical Abstract: Cryptostegia grandiflora, a member of the Asclepiadaceae, was evaluated as a potential multi-use crop. The plant contained 14.0% protein, 6.5% oil, 6.9% polyphenol, and 2.13% hydrocarbon. The gross heat value of the plant was 3878.0 cal/g, while the oil fraction was 7350.1 cal/g, and the hydrocarbon fraction was 9300.0 cal/g. The NMR spectra of the hydrocarbon fraction revealed the presence of cis-polyisoprene (natural rubber). The oil fraction contains both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids including: lauric acid (trace), myristic acid (15.24%), palmitic acid (25.90%), stearic acid (3.8%), oleic acid (8.0%), linoleic acid (24.76%), and arachidic acid (22.28%). The high proportion of saturated fatty acids and the high oil content (>5.0%) make Cryptostegia grandiflora a potential source for industrial raw material and alternative for conventional oil.