Thursday, August 7, 2008

Alternative Source for Rubber

Much has been said in the news about finding alternative sources for fuel energy. This article from Discovery News, however, highlights another alternative source, for rubber, which is apparently another resource that is hard to come by. Scientists from The Ohio State University’s Agricultural Research and Development Center in conjunction with the Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center received $3 million in grants in order to start up a processing plant to harvest rubber from the root sap of white dandelion. This dandelion, however, is not that one that many are familiar with growing on their lawns. Instead the particular dandelion the scientists will be using is the Uzbekistani cousin, commonly called the Russian Dandelion. This is a very exciting find since as William Ravin, one of the researchers, stated:

"No matter how much chemistry we've applied, we still haven't been able to find an artificial substitute for natural rubber. We're still harvesting [rubber] the same way they did 1,000 years ago; by cutting into the tree and letting the sap drip into containers. It's not a very efficient system."

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