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Copyright © 2011 Elliot Tonkes. This is an open access article distributed under the
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This paper considers bifurcation at the principal eigenvalue of a class of gradient operators which possess the Palais-Smale condition. The existence of the bifurcation branch and the asymptotic nature of the bifurcation is verified by using the compactness in the Palais Smale condition and the order of the nonlinearity in the operator. The main result is applied to estimate the asyptotic behaviour of solutions to a class of semilinear elliptic equations with a critical Sobolev exponent.