ERJ staff report (DS)
Lausanne, Switzerland -- A new EU-funded project aims to find alternatives to the Hevea Brasiliensis plant for making natural rubber. The EU-PEARLS project is based in the Netherlands, but the research is being coordinated from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. The project start on 1 April this year and is set to run for 4 years. It has a total budget of Euro 7.7 million, of which Euro 5.6 million is provided by the EU grants.
The EU-PEARLS project includes the collection and creation of new germplasm, and research into the biochemistry and genetics of rubber biosynthesis, breeding and agronomy of guayule and Russian dandelion, processing of the crops, and product development. Analysis of the rubber biosynthetic pathway in these crops, aided by mapping of genes involved in rubber biosynthesis, will help to identify potential bottlenecks, and accelerate conventional breeding for commercially-viable rubber yields. Helper organisms will include Arabidopsis thaliana and Baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Improved plants will be tested for efficient growth and rubber production in the field under different climatic and edaphic conditions in Europe. In parallel, methods to process the plants, and harvest the latex and rubber will be evaluated and optimised. Furthermore, the technical performance and economic potential of rubber extracted from these plants will be evaluated by producing specific prototypes, such as surgical gloves and tyres.
This is an external link and should open in a new window. If the window does not appear, please check your pop-up blocking software. ERJ is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Press release from EU