ERJ staff report (TP)
Phoenix, Arizona − Yulex Corporation, an agricultural biomaterials company, announced the opening of a Seed & Genetics Center focused on plant breeding, molecular genetics and development of agronomic best practices to support the global cultivation of sustainable guayule plantations for medical, consumer, industrial and bioenergy applications.
Yulex’s Seed & Genetics Center will support the global commercial development of guayule. Guayule plant improvement strategies include novel, non-GMO (genetically modified organism) cultivar development methods which bridge the gap between classical plant breeding approaches and modern molecular technologies; the combined program is designed to maximise plant productivity for large-scale deployment and commercial production of this important new industrial crop.
Additional research activities at the Center involve the refinement of sustainable production techniques designed to improve guayule’s rubber yield and quality through natural processes, with a focus on soil management and natural crop production inputs.
As part of Yulex’s global licensing program, which has started with ENI’s Versalis in Europe, licensees will have access to commercial quantities of guayule seeds developed by the Yulex Center to establish crops in new regions. Yulex has the capability to rapidly expand, harvest and to clean commercial volumes of Certified Guayule Seed. Yulex and its licensees plan significant global guayule acreage expansion. The Yulex Center will provide ongoing R&D, coordinate with local universities in new growing areas, and support commercial guayule programs.
“We are proud to launch our new, international guayule Seed & Genetics Center in Arizona, as it validates Yulex’s growing agricultural footprint and the demand for guayule as a viable, industrial crop that can sustainably meet the growing global demand for rubber,” said Jeff Martin, Chief Executive Officer, President and Co-founder of Yulex Corporation.
Yulex said guayule does not compete against food or fibre crops. It is a renewable source of natural rubber that can replace petroleum-based synthetics, and requires low inputs.
The Center directly administers and coordinates Yulex’s recently announced agricultural partnerships to improve guayule for commercial production. Work with the University of Arizona applies classical breeding to existing Yulex guayule lines and selected outliers. SGB Inc (which partners with Yulex) provides an accelerated breeding program to develop new varieties that produce high yields of rubber under diverse environmental conditions.
The company said it envisions a future of fully integrated and sustainable biorefineries that utilise 100 percent of the guayule plant to provide a renewable source of natural rubber, resin, specialty chemicals, biomaterials and biofuels on a global basis.
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Press release from Yulex