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 US:Yulex Hopes To Double Rubber Content From The Genetically-Enhanced Desert Plant

Maricopa, AZ -- Yulex, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), and Mendel Biotechnology have signed an agreement to develop and field test proprietary guayule (why-YOU-lee) plants with enhanced natural rubber latex yields and increased biomass.
Yulex is at the forefront of a clean technology industry in the U.S. southwest based on guayule, a versatile desert plant that has become a commercial source of bio-based rubber latex, and a cellulosic feedstock for bioethanol and other alternative energy production.
Launching this program with Mendel and the Agricultural Research Service will greatly accelerate the achievement of our long term goals which include the ability to provide an economical rubber product on a global basis while providing a regional solution for ethanol production in the Southwest United States,” says Jeffrey Martin, CEO and president of Yulex.
We expect to see a vast improvement in guayule rubber yields which will allow guayule production fields to produce significantly more rubber per acre than rubber plantations in Southeast Asia.” “Using our expertise in plant regulatory genes and proprietary technology in transferring these genes, we are optimistic that we can create improved varieties of guayule that will make twice as much rubber,” says Robert A. Creelman, Ph.D., senior scientist at Mendel Biotechnology that is principle investigator on the project.
Since guayule grows in the United States, these improved varieties will create opportunities for American farmers, reduce our dependence on imported natural latex and rubber, and decrease our use of synthetic latex and rubber." The goal of collaboration is to increase the amount of latex, rubber, and biomass the plant produces. Yulex obtained an exclusive license on a technology developed by Agricultural Research Service scientists in 1997 to extract natural rubber latex from the guayule plant.