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Fraunhofer and Continental come together when the dandelion rubber meets the road
Date:10/28/2013

e tires division. "It's because the rubber extraction from the dandelion root is markedly less affected by weather than the rubber obtained from the rubber tree. Based on its agricultural modesty, it holds entirely new potential especially for cropland that is lying fallow today. Since we can grow it in much closer proximity to our production sites, we can further reduce both the environmental impact as well as our logistics costs by a substantial margin. This development project impressively demonstrates that, with regard to material development, we have not reached the end of our potential."

"We have amassed tremendous expertise in dandelion harvesting over the last few years. With the aid of DNA markers, we now know which gene is responsible for which molecular feature. This makes it possible to cultivate especially high-yield plants much more efficiently," as Prof. Dr. Dirk Prfer describes the research efforts at the Mnster-based IME site.

Scientists there have intensively engaged with this topic there. They succeeded in proving that the rubber extracted from dandelion is of the same quality as its cousin from the rubber tree. The team under Prof. Prfer is gathering comprehensive raw data for the first time on the individual varieties, on their rubber content and on the biological mechanisms of production. With the aid of this knowledge, they succeeded in cultivating varieties that are especially high in yield, robust, and easy to grow. "The greatest challenge was to transform the weed into a useful crop and to cultivate suitable varieties. In the meantime, a few of our plants proved to contain a markedly elevated rubber content. We will now stabilize these even further by breeding them," explains Prof. Prfer.

For production, only the Russian variety of our domestic plants can be used. This is the only type that features large quantities of rubber within its white latex sap. It is immense potential hidden inside the dandelion. Compare
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Contact: Dr. Dirk Prüfer
49-251-832-2302
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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