Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Colorado State leads researchers on quest to produce rubber from sunflowers and guayule

26.02.2002


Colorado State University is leading a team of researchers who plan to develop sunflowers into a rubber-producing crop, alleviating the harvest of rubber trees in Southeast Asia and Brazil - currently the only natural source of rubber in the world.



The United States is currently totally dependent upon imports for its rubber supply, importing nearly 1.3 million tons a year at a cost of $2 billion. Almost all natural rubber comes from rubber trees including those grown on plantations in Malaysia and in Brazilian rain forests. Currently the production of rubber trees on Malaysian plantations is diminishing because farmers there consider it to be a crop with low value.

Research at Colorado State will be based at the Western Colorado Research Center, a part of the Agricultural Experiment Station at Colorado State. It will explore ways to increase rubber production in sunflowers. Other project collaborators will look at optimizing rubber production in guayule, a plant native to southwestern states.


"Sunflowers naturally produce a small amount of rubber," said Calvin Pearson, Colorado State professor and research agronomist and research project coordinator. "By developing new sunflower varieties, the quality and quantity of rubber in sunflowers can be increased. Guayule naturally produces high quality rubber, but more research is needed to make it a more profitable crop. By developing these crops, we’re able to support our national economy and become less dependent upon imports."

Natural rubber is an irreplaceable raw material and is a component of more than 400,000 products including 400 medical devices. The United States, which uses about 20 percent of the global rubber supply, is the single largest consumer of natural rubber. About half of the global rubber supply is natural, and the other half is synthetic. The federal government last year made finding alternative, domestic sources of rubber production a national priority.

"Although rubber supplies are currently sufficient to meet market demand, the supply will likely diminish since plantation owners don’t see the crop as profitable," said Lee Sommers, Colorado State Agricultural Experiment Station director. "This could lead to stress on the American economy since so many products we use in our day-to-day life depend upon rubber."

The four-year research project will investigate enhancing rubber production in crops suitable for the United States through developing environmentally-friendly, productive varieties of sunflower and guayule plants. The group received a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to foster rubber production. Colorado State built a new laboratory and growth chamber at the Western Colorado Research Center in Fruita.

In addition to Pearson, the core team of researchers collaborating on the project are Katrina Cornish, plant physiologist and rubber biochemist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Albany, Calif; Jay Keasling, professor and metabolic engineer, University of California, Berkeley; Dennis T. Ray, professor and plant breeder, University of Arizona; and John Vederas, chemistry professor, University of Alberta, Canada.

Others who will participate are Andrew McAloon, cost engineer, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Wyndmoore, Penn.; and Harold Larson, associate professor and plant pathologist; Robert Hammon, research associate and entomologist; and Rod L. Sharp, Cooperative Extension agriculture and business management economist specialist, all with Colorado State.

| Colorado State University

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Bergamotene - alluring and lethal for Manduca sexta
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht How to color a lizard: From biology to mathematics
13.04.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>