New findings published in the journal Nature Plants look at how dandelions can aid in the production of rubber. In fact, scientists have been closely examining the plant to see just how producing rubber from dandelions may one day be a viable process.
Dandelions produce a milky fluid that contains rubber in certain cells and is responsible for the formation of rubber in a protein complex that’s located on the surface of rubber particles. They are filled with polyisoprene, otherwise known as the main component of rubber.
The researchers examined dandelions a bit more closely and found the protein that’s necessary for the rubber-producing protein complex. This is especially important if researchers wish to use the dandelion to create rubber in the future.
“Dandelions have become well-known recently in particular as a result of applied research,” said study researcher Christian Schulze in a news release. “Now we are pleased to have some news again from the field of basic research: we have been able to identify no fewer than two key components of rubber biosynthesis.”
Unfortunately, while it may not be quite possible to manufacture rubber biotechnologically, identifying certain key components used in rubber synthesis works as a major step forward when it comes to making the process possible. Yet in the future, the plants could be used in laboratory experiments to examine the role of the rubber found in them. For instance, one idea currently under discussion looks at providing protection against certain pathogenic agents using this compound from dandelions.
“We achieved these research results only through effective collaboration between IME and Munster University-in other words, through the intelligent linking of applications-oriented and basic research. We hope to expand this successful model further,” concluded researcher Dirk Prufer.
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