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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Bioproducts Research » Research » Research Project #427435

Research Project: Quality Improvement of Guayule Natural Rubber

Location: Bioproducts Research

Project Number: 2030-21410-021-06-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 3, 2014
End Date: Sep 2, 2019

Improve the quality of natural rubber in guayule.

Guayule (Parthenium argentatum) is a woody desert shrub that produces natural rubber by biosynthesis. Extraction of the rubber requires chemical stabilization since the rubber is highly susceptible to oxidation. Oxidation reduces the molecular weight of the rubber creating low quality. Our approach is to increase the level of the naturally-occurring antioxidant, alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E) produced in the plant via genetic engineering of guayule. In preliminary studies, addition of alpha-tocopherol to guayule rubber was five times more effective at stabilization than 6-ppd, N-(1,3-dimethylbutyl) -N'-phenyl-p-phenylenediamine, a commonly-used chemical antioxidant.