Rubber from russian dandelions

Posted on January 16, 2020


Joint project with Fraunhofer IME

Russian dandelion (Taraxacum koksaghyz) produces a rubber of comparable quality to the tropical rubber tree. It also grows in temperate climates and is thus able to expand natural rubber production to our regions. The cultivation of dandelion also offers the opportunity to increase the diversity of cultivation on domestic fields.

Russian dandelion is a close relative of our native dandelion. It enriches in its roots a whitish, sticky, rubbery milky sap, the so-called latex. Since dandelions are only of limited use as a wild plant for agricultural production, plant breeders clarify the physiology of rubber synthesis and develop suitable varieties for successful industrialization. These should be characterized by high root yields, latex content and resistance to plant diseases, pests and drought. And, like sugarbeet, the roots must be easy to clear and as clean as possible and then easy to store and process.

To achieve this, together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME, ESKUSA GmbH and hortilab, ecSeq Bioinformatics GmbH generated a high-resolution genetic map of Russian dandelion.

This is used to achieve the following breeding objectives:

  • Stabilize yields and, in the long term, increase them to approximately one ton of natural rubber per hectare per year
  • Optimise root geometry to minimise soil attachment, contamination and losses during harvest
  • Improve drought tolerance
  • Increase resistance to disease

Find more information about the research project and ecSeq's involvement in this information leaflet by the FNR, the central coordinating agency in the area of renewable resources in Germany:

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