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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Improvement and Utilization of Natural Rubber- and Castor Oil-producing Industrial Crops

Location: Bioproducts Research

Title: Unraveling the mystery of natural rubber biosythesis part I: investigation of the composition and growth of in vitro natural rubber using high resolution size exclusion chromatography

Authors
item Chiang, Kurt Cheng -
item Xie, Wenshuang -
item McMahan, Colleen
item Puskas, Judit -

Submitted to: Rubber Chemistry and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 2, 2011
Publication Date: June 2, 2011
Citation: Chiang, K.C., Xie, W., Mcmahan, C.M., Puskas, J. 2011. Unraveling the mystery of natural rubber biosythesis part I: investigation of the composition and growth of in vitro natural rubber using high resolution size exclusion chromatography. Rubber Chemistry and Technology. 84(2):166-177.

Interpretive Summary: Natural rubber is used in critical applications (medical, aircraft tires, etc.) where it cannot be substituted by synthetics due to its superior performance. Chemical synthesis of a polymer that has the same properties as natural rubber has been the objective of polymer researchers for decades. Synthetic polyisoprene is sold commercially today of very high cis 1,4 stereochemical structure; however, the near 100% cis content found in natural rubber has never been achieved. Studies of biosynthesis of natural rubber are leading to new insights in catalysis mechanisms.

Technical Abstract: Monitoring the growth of in vitro natural rubberwas accomplished by high resolution size exclusion chromatography, SEC.Washed rubber particles isolated from H. brasiliensis latex, containing the rubber transferase enzyme, were used to catalyze the polymerization of synthetic isopentenyl pyrophosphate monomer in the presence of farnesyl pyrophosphate initiator. The high-resolution SEC was able to detect the formation of new rubber. Changes in the low molecular weight fraction were also detected. Gravimetric analysis revealed ~30% mass gain after the in vitro synthesis. The overall gel content was found to be reduced, which further supported the formation of new rubber. This is the first report that utilizes high-resolution SEC to monitor the in vitro NR growth without the use of radiolabeling.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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