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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Crop Improvement and Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #246912

Title: Biological feedstock development as part of the domestication and commercialization of Taraxacum kok-saghyz, a potential domestic source of natural rubber and inulin: progress and outlook

item KLEINHENZ, MATTHEW - The Ohio State University
item MICHEL, FRED - The Ohio State University
item CHANON, ANN - The Ohio State University
item EHRENSING, DARYL - Oregon State University
item MILLER, RAYMOND - The Ohio State University
item STREETER, JOHN - The Ohio State University
item SEIPLE, ROBERT - University Of Akron
item OHLEMACHER, CRITTENDEN - University Of Akron
item McMahan, Colleen
item SHINTANI, DAVID - University Of Nevada
item MYERS, STEPHEN - The Ohio State University
item RAVLIN, F - The Ohio State University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/24/2009
Publication Date: 9/12/2009
Citation: Kleinhenz, M.D., Michel, F.C., Chanon, A.M., Ehrensing, D., Miller, R.A., Streeter, J.G., Seiple, R., Ohlemacher, C., Mcmahan, C.M., Shintani, D., Myers, S.C., Ravlin, F.W. 2009. Biological feedstock development as part of the domestication and commercialization of Taraxacum kok-saghyz, a potential domestic source of natural rubber and inulin: progress and outlook. American Chemical Society (ACS) Rubber Division Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, October 12-16, 2009.

Interpretive Summary: The Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (OBIC) and its private- and public-sector collaborators employ a market-pull approach to accelerate the commercialization of renewable specialty chemicals, polymers/plastics and advanced materials. The USDA-ARS Domestic Natural Rubber project has worked in collaboration with OBIC and PENRA (see below) toward development of a domestic rubber-producing Russian dandelion, Taraxacum kok-saghyz (TKS). TKS roots contain high levels of inulin and high quality natural rubber but TKS is currently undomesticated. Since 2006, a private-public, multi-institution, multi-disciplinary team, formally recognized as the Program of Excellence in Natural Rubber Alternatives (, has worked to position TKS as a sustainable, domestic source of natural rubber and inulin. The team has addressed each step in the emerging TKS value chain by developing a TKS breeding program, improving existing TKS root processing methods, and securing modern evidence of the quality of TKS-derived natural rubber. TKS germplasm enhancement activities at The Ohio State University - Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OSU-OARDC) is the subject of this report.

Technical Abstract: Wild-collected F0 seed was found to contain a mixture Taraxacum species (i.e., highly variable seedling phenotypes), a likely drag on TKS germplasm enhancement. Also, roots of unselected, wild-collected Taraxacum genotypes were found to contain, on average, 1.4 and 56.4 percent rubber and inulin, respectively, with rubber levels below commercialization thresholds. Foliar and floral criteria for differentiating T. kok-saghyz from other Taraxacum species were then developed along with protocols for measuring and assessing root rubber and inulin levels. And, selected genotypes were employed in breeding activities. Roguing non-TKS individuals from groups of F0 seedlings increased average rubber recovery to 7.9% by root dry weight, although recovery exceeded 10% (commercialization threshold) in 29% and 20% in 0.3% of the F0 individuals tested. Based on phenotype and root rubber recovery, 352 F0 individuals were selected as members of the base breeding population, with rubber production potential measured or estimated in 184 of these 352 F0 individuals. All members of the base breeding population and approximately five-thousand F1 individuals have been employed in controlled and uncontrolled pollination events within open, reciprocal, self, and/or diallel crossing schemes executed in greenhouse, field and high tunnel settings. In addition, 4,600 clones representing fifty-one genotypes have been produced via vegetative propagation. To date, approximately 2.7 million (1.8 kg) viable F1 and F2 TKS seed of varying pedigree have been collected, a 36-fold increase in the overall number of viable TKS seed available at project initiation in 2006. Nearly 92% of twelve-thousand current F1 seedlings and all nascent F1 and F2 individuals await evaluation of rubber production potential; in this regard, it is worth noting that roots of approximately 2.5% of unimproved, wild-collected TKS genotypes have contained rubber levels exceeding 15% by dry weight.