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Revista de Biología Tropical

On-line version ISSN 0034-7744Print version ISSN 0034-7744


HERNANDEZ-NICOLAS, Nancy Yazmín et al. Traditional uses and seed chemical composition of Jatropha spp. (Euphorbiaceae) in Tehuacán-Cuicatlán, México. Rev. biol. trop [online]. 2018, vol.66, n.1, pp.266-279. ISSN 0034-7744.

The Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve in México holds genetic richness and endemism for the genus Jatropha, but the specific use of the plants and the seed chemical profiles are still unknown. We recorded the traditional forms of use of Jatropha species, and analyzed the chemical composition of Jatropha spp. seeds. For this, a semi-structured survey was conducted in 15 towns, and 20 interviews were applied in each one between May and August 2012 to estimate the Significant Use Level and Relative Use Value per species. Besides, seeds from J. neopauciflora, J. rufescens, and J. rzedowskii were collected between August and October 2013, and to seed flour samples we determined total lipids by the Soxhlet method, crude protein by the Kjendahl method, and ashes according to AOAC methods; fatty acid profile and phorbol esters were determined by gas chromatography and by HPLC, respectively. The species J. neopauciflora, J. oaxacana, J. rufescens, J. ciliata, and J. rzedowskii, are used as traditional medicine, food, and ornaments, except for J. ciliata, for which none use was recorded. The Significant Use Level as food was found not significant, but for medicinal purposes, J. neopauciflora obtained the highest Relative Use Value (9.0 %). The latex is used to treat 13 disorders, including dental problems and oral diseases with a Significant Use Level of 32.9 %; it is also used as a hemostatic. The protein content among species varied from 23.37 to 26.06 %, and total lipids from 34.79 to 36.60 %. The principal unsaturated fatty acids were oleic (25.08 to 30.09 %) and linoleic (44.55 to 48.46 %), and the saturated fatty acids were palmitic (10.11 to 16.50 %) and stearic (9.47 to 11.15 %). Phorbol esters, the main cause of seed’s toxicity, were absent in J. neopauciflora, J. rufescens, and J. rzedowskii. In conclusion, the Significant Use Level of Jatropha species studied was low, with little cultural acceptance and sporadic utilization. The Relative Use Value was important for medicinal purposes, especially for J. neopauciflora. The dehulled seeds of J. neopauciflora, J. rufescens, and J. rzedowskii are potentially useful as food, having high protein contents, and unsaturated oleic and linoleic fatty acids. With this study we report three non-toxic Jatropha species and recommend to scientifically validate the antimycotic use of J. neopauciflora latex. Rev. Biol. Trop. 66(1): 266-279. Epub 2018 March 01.

Keywords : infections; dental hygiene; fatty acids; Jatropha; phorbol esters; proteins; traditional uses.

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