Today: Jun 14, 2024

Revolutionary Tech to Skyrocket US Rubber Production

5 months ago

Researchers at Ohio State University are working on methods to extract latex from two sustainable North American plant sources to boost the U.S. rubber market: a dandelion species and a desert shrub. The researchers have been adding specialized agents to the extraction process to increase latex yield, ultimately aiming to develop efficient and low-cost extraction methods for alternative natural rubber-producing species. The need for a domestic natural rubber industry in the U.S. is vital, as the country currently depends entirely on imports for natural rubber. The threat of disease and high demand affecting Southeast Asia’s rubber supply further emphasizes the importance of developing alternative rubber sources. Beyond tires, rubber is widely used in an estimated 50,000 products. The researchers have discovered that adding chemical substances called flocculants to the extraction process of guayule shrub latex enhances extraction efficiency and overall latex yield. Guayule latex has unique qualities, making it attractive for various applications. Similarly, adding EDTA, a chelator, to the extraction process of TK dandelion latex significantly increases latex yield. The researchers are also investigating the application of EDTA for guayule latex extraction. Increased latex yield and extraction efficiency have environmental benefits and reduce the dependence on tropical rubber plants, ensuring a sustainable and reliable natural rubber supply.