You can see dandelions anywhere: in your garden, in the field, or even just next to any road – they are completely not picky about conditions and grow anywhere. Dutch biotech company KeyGene plans to find latex in the dandelion roots to create a new material for tire production. It has been established that by 2020 the world demand for rubber will increase significantly, namely by 20 percent, and this is why it is necessary to look for alternative ways to get latex. An ordinary weed, which we see almost every day near our own entrance, can become this very alternative source for obtaining latex, and will even generate an income of 100 billion US dollars.
While the usual dandelion roots are too small to be viable for commercial production, the company is planning to develop a new dandelion variety and use DNA profile technology, in other words, to modify our dandelion. By crossing our Russian dandelion and standard dandelion, they hope to strengthen the root stock and increase the level of latex production. The process will include the analysis of various samples in the greenhouse, where they will be grown, the search and analysis of various mutations, and then the selection of genetic material that will increase the yield and resistance to environmental influences and various diseases that this plant. Researchers do not introduce alien genes from other types of crops. They preferred to use the natural process of evolution, but to facilitate its passage in a shorter time.
“Many of the producers in Europe want genetically improved crops, but not GMO crops. So it is for them that we can provide an alternative. We have developed a number of technologies that allow very quickly to genetically improve cultures in the closest to natural ways, without crossing the barriers of certain types, ”said KeyGene CEO Arjen van Tunen.
The international tire maker Apollo Vredestein has joined KeyGene and they are now working together to take advantage of the flower for their own purposes. A prototype tire has already been produced, and the team believes that dandelion commercial tires can actually go to the market, but only after five years.
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