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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Maricopa, Arizona » U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center » Plant Physiology and Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #229750

Title: Chemical constituents and physical properties of guayule wood and bark

item CHOW, POO
item Coffelt, Terry

Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2008
Publication Date: 11/1/2008
Citation: Chow, P., Nakayama, F.S., Blahnik, B., Youngquist, J., Coffelt, T.A. 2008. Chemical constituents and physical properties of guayule wood and bark. Industrial Crops and Products, 28:303-308.

Interpretive Summary: Production of guayule for hypoallergenic latex products will result in large amounts of bagasse material that needs to be economically utilized for successful commercialization. In order to determine the most economical use of the bagasse, guayule wood and bark tissues were analyzed for physical and chemical properties and compared with a maple tree sample and milkweed sample. The chemical and physical properties of guayule wood were similar to those for maple, while the guayule bark contained more chemical extracts than the maple. Based on these results, guayule wood could serve as a raw material for the paper and chemical industries to supplement or replace current wood sources.

Technical Abstract: About 15 Parthenium species grow in the North American continent with P. argentatum (guayule) as the only species containing harvestable amounts of the rubber latex. The predicted commercialization of the guayule plant for its hypoallergenic latex will result in a significant amount of waste fiber or bagasse biomass that can also be put to use for making wood, paper, and other chemical products, as well as in energy production. Thus, the guayule wood and bark fibers can be considered a new source of plant biomass that may be used as a direct substitute for forest-based wood fiber. However, little information is available on the chemical composition of the wood and bark tissues of guayule (Parthenium argentatum). The objectives of this study were to determine the chemical and fiber composition of guayule and to compare it with other wood fiber sources. Three germplasm lines of mature guayule (Cal-6, AZ-101, G7-15) and another species of Parthenium, (P. tomentosum, PT), juvenile soft maple (Acer rubrum), a deciduous tree, and milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L) that has long fibers were the plant sources. Separate wood and bark tissues were analyzed for hot water, 1% sodium hydroxide, and alcohol-toluene extracts. In addition, the lignin, holocellulose, alpha cellulose, and pentosan contents were determined. All the chemical components in the wood fibers for the Partheniums were equal to or greater than the juvenile maple tree. Milkweed had higher alpha-cellulose and lower alcohol-toluene extract contents than both the guayule and soft maple. The guayule bark fibers had more chemical extracts than the wood fibers. The specific gravity of guayule wood was greater than the deciduous wood species. However, the fiber lengths of soft maple wood, guayule wood, and milkweed are similar. Based on the chemical composition, P. argentatum and P. tomentosum could serve as raw materials for the paper and chemical industries as well as for energy production.