Project code: 212827
Contract period: 01.04.2008
Budget: 5,860,000 Euro
Purpose of research: Basic research
Natural rubber is a widely used raw material essential to industry, medicine, transportation and defence, whose major source, the rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis, is currently both sustainable and environmentally beneficial. However, increased worldwide demand for natural rubber and latex means that alternative sustainable sources are urgently required. In order to meet this challenge, we propose to create a Network that links all stakeholders involved in the development and sustainable use of Parthenium argentatum (guayule) and Taraxacum koksaghyz (Russian dandelion) as alternative rubber and latex sources in the EU.
To guarantee the sustainable development and exploitation of both crops throughout the value creation chain, the project includes research into the collection and creation of new germplasm, biochemistry and genetics, breeding, agronomy, processing, and product development. The entire rubber biosynthetic pathway will be analysed, and potential bottlenecks will be identified and bypassed through targeted conventional breeding. Genes involved in rubber biosynthesis will be mapped, helping to accelerate breeding strategies in order to generate plants with commercially-viable rubber yields.