Jatropha curcas, a monoecious perennial biofuel shrub belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae, has few female flowers, which is one of the most important reasons for its poor seed yield. XTBG PhD candidate PAN Bangzhen and her supervisor Prof. XU Zengfu determined the effects of the plant growth regulator 6-benzyladenine (BA) on floral development and floral sex determination of J. curcas. Exogenous application of BA significantly increased the total number of flowers per inflorescence, reaching a 3.6-fold increase (from 215 to 784) at 160 mg/l of BA. Furthermore, BA treatments induced bisexual flowers, which were not found in control inflorescences, and a substantial increase in the femaleto-male flower ratio. Consequently, a 4.5-fold increase in fruit number and a 3.3-fold increase in final seed yield were observed in inflorescences treated with 160 mg/L of BA, which resulted from the greater number of female flowers and the newly induced bisexual flowers in BA-treated inflorescences. Their study indicates that the seed yield of J. curcas can be increased by manipulation of floral development and floral sex expression.
Their publication, entitled “Benzyladenine Treatment Significantly Increases the Seed Yield of the Biofuel Plant Jatropha curcas”, has been published online in Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, DOI 10.1007/s00344-010-9179-3.This work was supported by the Knowledge Innovation Programs of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Top Science and Technology Talents Scheme of Yunnan province.