UP: 15 children fell ill after consuming poisonous Jatropha seeds

Muzaffarnagar, Nov 23: At least 15 children fell ill after consuming Jatropha seeds at Jolla village in the district, police said today.

A group of 15 children had gone to a nearby forest area under Budhana Police Station yesterday and consumed Jatropha seeds which are poisonous, police said.

Muzaffarnagar map
After returning home, the children started complaining of headache, vomiting and stomach disorder, following which they were rushed to a hospital, they said.

The children who are still undergoing treatment include Sumayya(3), Uves(4), Suhana(5), Zubed(8), Hurkan(8), Talib (8), Saaiz(9), and Anas(12), police said, adding that the rest of children have been discharged.

The case is still being investigated, they said. 

What is Jatropha?

The Jatropha seeds contain 27-40% oil that can be processed to produce a high-quality biodiesel fuel, which can be used in a standard diesel engine.

Goldman Sachs in its report published in 2007 cited Jatropha as one of the best candidates for future biodiesel production. Jatropha trees are now grown in India to utilise as biofuel.

The Jatropha seeds contain a highly poisonous chemical toxalbumin curcin. They also contain carcinogenic phorbol, another poisonous chemical.

But, the seeds are occasionally eaten after roasting, which reduces some of the toxicity, in some parts of the world. The sap produced by the seeds is a skin irritant, and eating even three untreated (not roasted) seeds can be fatal. It was banned in Western Australia in 2005 as it is considered invasive and highly toxic to people and animals.

With input from PTI 

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