These days, the main uses of Euphorbia species are horticultural. In fact, many Euphorbia species are cultivated for their brilliant, showy bracts, as well as for their frequently colorful foliage. This is the case of E. pulcherrima (poinsettia), which is cultivated for ornamental purposes as a popular Christmas decoration.
Euphorbia lagascae has been cultivated for the production of 12-epoxyoctadeca-cis-9-enoic acid (vernolic acid), which is found at high levels in its seeds. Vernolic acid is an unusual C18 epoxidated fatty acid with potential industrial value due to the unique chemical properties associated with the D12 epoxy group. Vernolic acid-enriched seed oils can be used as plasti-cizers of polyvinylchloride — a market that is currently served by petroleum-derived compounds such as phthalates. In addition, the ability of the epoxy group to crosslink makes vernolic acid-containing oils useful in adhesives and coating materials such as paint (Cahoon et al., 2002).
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