Kultevat And KeyGene Enter Into A Partnership And License Agreement To Scale Up Dandelion Rubber Production In North America
A Novel Crop: Flexilis® Hybrid Significant milestones have been reached in KeyGene's rubber dandelion development program. Using molecular breeding technologies KeyGene has, for the first time, combined the capacity of the Kazakh dandelion plant (Taraxacum koksaghyz) to produce high levels of rubber, with the well-known vigorous growth potential of the common Dutch dandelion plant (Taraxacum officinale). A novel interspecific hybrid crop "Flexilis® hybrid" has been developed; the hybrid produces the same amount of high quality rubber per gram of root tissue as the much smaller Kazakh dandelion plants. Simultaneously a high performing variant of the Kazakh dandelion Flexilis® plus has been developed, ready for large scale production of dandelion roots.
Kultevat is a strategic KeyGene partner for exploitation of the novel dandelion varieties in North America. The Kultevat team has developed cultivation practices for the dandelion crop and initiated the first production fields at various locations in the USA. Initial results confirm the ability of this crop to deliver a profitable rubber business. In addition the Kultevat team has developed a highly efficient rubber extraction method that can be scaled to factory level. The next goal of Kultevat is to produce sufficient amounts of dandelion rubber for the development of various natural rubber applications. (read more)
Kultevat earns first patent for Dandelion-to-rubber Process
St. Louis biotech startup signs deal to develop new source for rubber
Being able to produce rubber from the plant has advantages over Hevea rubber trees because the dandelions can be grown in many more regions around the world, including North America. The plant is already being grown for processing, testing and prototype development. The company expects commercial sales of the rubber to begin in 2016, of which it will have exclusive rights.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries committed an undisclosed amount of funding to the joint research. It will use the new rubber mostly for tires. (read more)
Kultevat, Inc. and Sumitomo Rubber Industries enter into a research agreement to develop environmentally friendly source of natural rubber.
Unlike Hevea rubber trees, TKS can be grown in temperate regions around the globe, including in North America. Kultevat's goals include increasing the yield of rubber from cultivation of highly productive varieties of TKS in multiple locations in North America, and developing green technologies for extraction of product from plant tissues. The Sumitomo Rubber Industries has committed an undisclosed amount of funding for the joint research on TKS (sometimes referred to as Russian dandelions) to promote the better use of natural resources while, in the future, enabling SRI to secure a reliable and efficient supply of natural raw materials at production bases around the world. "We expect that development of TKS as an economically viable source of rubber will allow SRI to provide a steady supply of high-performance tires with low environmental impact to a greater number of customers in the future," said President, Ikuji Ikeda Sumitomo Rubber Industries. (read more)
Sumitomo Rubber Begins Joint Research on Russian Dandelions as a Potential New Source of Natural Rubber
As global tire demand continues to expand, Sumitomo Rubber Industries believes that reducing the usage of fossil resources such as petroleum and coal, which make up approximately 60% of a conventional tire, and promoting the use of sustainable natural resources are extremely important goals for the tire industry. (read more)
Dandelions could be new cash crop
The United States imports $5 billion in rubber annually, said Dan Swiger, chief executive officer of Kultevat (pronounced like the word “cultivate”). A veteran of the alternative rubber market, Swiger believes there is good opportunity for producing rubber from the roots of the dandelion plant and supplying industry in the U.S.
“While car and airplane tires certainly represent a large share of the market, natural rubber touches our daily lives in ways we do not consider,” he said. “The shoes we wear to exercise, the rubber bands we use to hold our produce together, the gum we chew — among many other examples — all use natural rubber.” (read more)
Kultevat obtains license of gene switch technology
The technology was developed under the direction of Roger Beachy, Ph.D., chief science officer at Kultevat and former president of the Danforth Plant Science Center, and is used to introduce natural genetic elements to plants for the purpose of closely controlling seed maturation and germination. The gene switch technology controls expression of genes by use of a well-characterized chemical activator or by seed specific gene promoters that 'switch on' desired genes. The promoters control expression of genes that lead to production of plant hormones that regulate the timing of seed maturation and germination. (read more)
Kultevat, KeyGene announce breakthrough in Russian dandelion latex
In April 2013, Kultevat and KeyGene signed an agreement to develop, breed and test Russian dandelions for natural rubber production, the companies said in a joint press release.
Following a rigorous breeding strategy incorporating its molecular and DNA tools, KeyGene succeeded in producing improved Russian dandelion varieties with superior agronomic performance, latex quality and latex yields, the companies said.
Kultevat will conduct the testing, cultivation and production program through its new U.S. research and development facility in St. Louis, they said.
Meanwhile, KeyGene also has cross-bred Russian and European dandelions to produce new breeding material with increased vigor and taproot size, according to the companies. (read more)
KeyGene and Kultevat reach milestones in Russian dandelion natural rubber,
In April, 2013, Kultevat and KeyGene entered into collaboration developing, breeding and testing Russian dandelion for the production of natural rubber. A recent capital investment will enable Kultevat to finance its testing, cultivation and production program. Kultevat plans to coordinate all activities related to dandelion production for natural rubber through its new U.S. R&D facility in St Louis, Mo. (read more)
Kultevat continues work on Russian dandelion, RubberNews.com, April 25, 2013
Founded by entrepreneur Daniel R. Swiger, the company is moving rapidly toward its primary goal of full-scale production of rubber and sugar syrup from Russian dandelion plants (Taraxacum kok-saghyz or TKS) in the U.S. and abroad by 2016.
"Currently we are producing small amounts of rubber with larger acres of TKS going in the ground in fall 2013," he said. "TKS is an annual crop, so we can plant, grow and process in one year versus two years for guayule and seven years for hevea."
The firm is growing the plants in 12 states and searching for other acreage in Canada and Mexico.
KeyGene and Kultevat enter into a collaboration to develop commercial rubber production from Russian dandelion, SeedQuest, April 8, 2013
Dandelion tires? It's not a Beatles lyric, it's biotech, By Nick Glass and Tim Hume, CNN
But scientists at Dutch biotech firm KeyGene believe the flower's true beauty could lie beneath the soil. The dandelion's roots contain latex, the milky liquid that is a source for natural rubber and the origin for the plant's name in a number of languages (the Danish for "dandelion" translates as "milk pot").
Global demand for natural rubber is expected to outstrip supply by 20% by 2020. But KeyGene believes that the dandelion can be developed into an important natural source of the commodity, worth more than $100 billion a year. (read more)
Beachy grows Kultevat, looks to raise $25 million, By E.B. Solomont, Biz Journals
With plans to move to the Helix Center, Kultevat hopes to raise $25 million, mostly from local investors, to scale up production. (read more)
Rubber news.com - latex news, By Miles Moore
The cause—a perfect storm in the NR world, a combination of soaring demand, weather woes, currency fluctuations and the slow pace of replanting and maturation of the Hevea brasiliensis tree.
NR prices have rocketed upward on various commodity exchanges. On the Singapore Commodity Exchange, Rubber Smoked Sheets 3 reached $5.70 per kilo for March delivery in Singapore Jan. 20, while Technically Specified Rubber 20 rose to $5.47 per kilogram.
Standard Indonesian Rubber 20, the natural rubber grade used most often by U.S. tire manufacturers, stood at $2.51 per pound at the port of origin Jan. 20, a full 10 cents higher than just eight days before.
SBR prices increased some $600 per metric ton to $3,000-$3,100 between early October and January, according to ICIS, an online chemical and synthetic rubber information service. (read more)
LIFE MAGAZINE, October 23, 1944
In 1942 two planes landed in America with cargoes of kok-saghyz seeds. A total of 575 acres was planted, the dandelions harvested, the rubber produced. (read more, download PDF)
Green solutions magazine, October 16, 2010
Peachy Green, June 28, 2010
Green vehicle tires created from plants have been created at several research labs and some are even hitting the market. Sumitomo Rubber Industries (partnering with Goodyear) introduced the Enasave tire in Japan in 2006. The amount of synthetic rubber was cut in half from its previous models, comprising a total of only 11% of the tire.
Similarly at Yokohama Tire, scientists created 80% petroleum-free tires in its Yokohama dB Super E-spec, which uses oil from orange peels in its processing. Talk about recycling! The orange peels are shipped to the tire manufacturing plant from orange juice factories in Japan! You can buy these tires right here in the U.S. too! Just ask your local retailer if they carry them. (read more)
The New York Times, June 18, 2010
But when it comes to tires, there has been far less to talk about. (read more)
Bloomberg, September 21, 2010
“Drought earlier this year and heavy rains later on hampered tree-tapping across Asian plantations,” said Pongsak Kerdvongbundit, managing director of Phuket, Thailand-based Von Bundit Co., the largest natural-rubber producer and exporter in the world’s biggest supplier. “Global production will lag behind soaring demand for at least another two years.” (read more)
The New York Times, June 17, 2010
Efforts to burnish the eco-friendliness of tires are growing, though, with an emphasis on reducing the use of raw materials — particularly the five to 10 gallons of petroleum ingredients needed to manufacture a tire.
In recent years, the notion of making tires greener has mostly referred to the improvements in fuel economy that result from reducing their rolling resistance — usually through the use of special rubber formulations and, of course, by assuring that proper inflation pressures are maintained.
The potential gains are substantial. When considering the environmental friendliness of a tire over its full lifespan, the effect on gas mileage actually does more to determine the tire’s total carbon footprint than the choices of raw materials that go into making it. (read more)
Conservation Magazine, ©2009 The Economist Newspaper Ltd, London
Despite the invention of synthetic rubbers, there is often no good substitute for the real thing. This is because natural-rubber molecules have a more regular structure than artificial ones. For this reason, around one-fifth of an average car tire is made of natural rubber. Moreover, the price of synthetic rubber is tied to that of the oil from which it is made, rendering it vulnerable to changing oil prices.
Because oil is likely to become more costly in the future, natural rubber looks to be an attractive alternative, from an economic point of view as well as an engineering one.
Natural rubber has problems, though. Growing Hevea in the Americas is hard. In Asia, planting new rubber trees often means cutting down rainforest. And trees, being large, take time to grow to the point where they can yield a crop. A smaller plant that could be harvested for its rubber thus has obvious appeal.
Which is where TKS comes in. Dandelions are robust, fast-growing plants that can be pulled up for processing and resown easily, possibly yielding two harvests a year. If they could be turned into usable crops, they could outstrip even Hevea. (read more)
Dandelion greens in the raw are packed with nutritional value. For specific nutritional information, click here.