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Your new tyres may be made of dandelion rubber

TIRE NATURE

Around 25 million tonnes of rubber is produced each year to cover the world needs of that substance [1]. Approximately 42 percent of this amount corresponds to natural rubber [1], being the rest synthetic rubber.

Now a group of scientists and researchers seem to have found a solution for it in dandelion. Image: See credits under ref. [5] below. 


TARAXACUM KOK-SAGHYZ

Family: Asteraceae

Genus: Taraxacum

Common name: Russian dandelion


 

THE RESEARCH


It is clear that the production of natural rubber isn't enough to cover the world needs, and this is mainly because rubber is present in many daily use products such as tires, balloons, shoes, heels...etc.

Tire producers are, by far, one of the biggest rubber consumers around the world, therefore, is not strange to think that this particular industry may have a big interest in finding other cheaper ways to obtain rubber.

Now a team of scientists and researchers at Münster University, the Münster branch of the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME, the Technische Universität München (TUM) and TRM Ltd. (York, UK), have identified a group of proteins in dandelion that may play a key role in the production of the natural rubber that those produce as part of the dandelion white milky fluid [2]. 

Apparently the researchers found out that the Russian dandelion, Taraxacum kok-saghyz, has a protein that plays a key role in the production of this natural rubber. Taraxacum kok-saghyz is so far the only type that seems to have enough quantity of rubber within its milky fluid.

The interest on this new development is so big that companies such as Continental A.G. have already started testing tires made with rubber derived from dandelion latex [3].

Who knows, maybe your next tires will be made of dandelion rubber!

REFERENCES

[1] Wikipedia article on natural rubber under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
[2] Scientists identify key components in the formation of rubber, Technische Universität München (TUM) Press Release
[3] Rubber news press release
[4] Fraunhofer "Fraunhofer and Continental come together when the dandelion rubber meets the road" Press Release
[5] Pixabay image  by DeniMix under Public Domain License CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).