Prickly lettuce, a common weed that has long vexed farmers, has potential as a new cash crop providing raw material for rubber production, according to Washington State University scientists.
Writing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they describe regions in the plant’s genetic code linked to rubber production. The findings open the way for breeding for desired traits and developing a new crop source for rubber in the Pacific Northwest.
“I think there’s interest in developing a temperate-climate source of natural rubber,” said Ian Burke, a weed scientist at WSU and a study author. “It would be really great if prickly lettuce could become one of those crops.”
Potential for sustainable source
When the lettuce we eat and grow in our gardens bolts, a milky white sap bleeds from the stem. In prickly lettuce, the wild relative and ancestor of cultivated lettuce, this same substance could prove to be an economically viable source of natural rubber and help alleviate a worldwide threat to rubber production.
Natural rubber is the main ingredient for many everyday products, from boots to condoms to surgical gloves. Roughly 70 percent of the global supply of rubber is used in tires.
But more than half of rubber products are made from synthetic rubber derived from petrochemical sources. And the largest source of natural rubber, the Brazilian rubber tree, is threatened by disease.
Burke has reviewed many studies of prickly lettuce and its cultivated cousins, but one in particular gave him an idea. A study published in 2006 found that the latex in prickly lettuce was very similar to the polymers found in natural rubber.
“It occurred to me that we could grow the heck out of prickly lettuce in eastern Washington,” he said.
Genetic markers for desired traits
He knew that to develop a viable new crop for rubber production, he had to start by understanding the genetics of rubber production in the plant.
Burke, doctoral student Jared Bell and molecular plant scientist Michael Neff began their studies with two distinct samples of prickly lettuce collected from eastern Washington. These differed in their rubber content, leaf shape and tendency to bolt. The scientists were able to identify genetic markers not only for rubber content but for the way the plants grow, including the number of stems produced and bolting.
The Latest on: Rubber from lettuce
via Google News
The Latest on: Rubber from lettuce
- Nottingham Cocktail Week kicks off with one-off drinks, deals and masterclasseson November 11, 2019 at 4:18 am
Among them are All Bar One, Alto, Brown's, Ginsecco, Grosvenor Casino, Juni, Monty’s Bar and Social, Mowgli, Nottingham Bowl, Pitcher and Piano, Slug and Lettuce (Old Market Square), The Cross Keys ..
- October Restaurant D-List: Wash Cooking Equipment, Hands to Avoid This Liston November 8, 2019 at 5:00 am
“Heads of lettuce and box of green peppers were molded ... “Dicer was found to be stored as clean but when inspected dried food debris was found in the rubber pieces of the dicer. When the dicer was ...
- Recipes: Three surprising ways to make meatballson November 6, 2019 at 3:07 pm
Mix vigorously with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined ... Serve the meatballs with the carrots, cilantro sprigs, sliced scallions, and lettuce leaves for wrapping. The remaining sauce can be ...
- Restaurant Report Card: 18 Valley places failed their health inspections in October 2019on November 5, 2019 at 8:49 pm
PIC was educated that hands need to be properly washed between switching tasks and between glove changes; Dicer was found to be stored as clean but when inspected dried food debris was found in the ...
- Tip Of The Day: Red Leaf Lettuceon November 2, 2019 at 6:23 am
This year there are six fewer shopping days between Cyber Monday and Christmas than last year. 15 hours ago Nestle Recalls Ready-To-Bake Refrigerated Cookie DoughNestle says some of its cookie dough ...
- These $170 vegan lettuce sandals are officially the weirdest shoes everon October 2, 2018 at 9:10 pm
INTRODUCING the “lettuce slide,” a crunchy riff on the ubiquitous Adidas sport sandals from vegan footwear brand Rombaut. The garden variety wonders dispense with the classic striped band and instead ...
- Prickly lettuce latest potential rubber planton July 23, 2015 at 6:59 pm
Nevertheless, plant scientists at Washington State University and Dow Agrosciences have found a fourth candidate as a cash crop for rubber—a common weed that is a cousin to the green leaves you find ...
- WSU wants to turn goo from weed prickly lettuce into rubberon May 10, 2015 at 12:29 pm
Years from now, you might read about a startup that’ll manufacture rubber tires from a common weed found in this state. It’s called prickly lettuce, and gardeners are very familiar with it. It also ...
- Producing rubber from lettuceon April 6, 2015 at 10:51 am
Burke said that selecting for other traits, like water use efficiency, could allow prickly lettuce to be grown with minimal rainfall, meaning it could be grown in rotation with other crops. Washington ...
- Lettuce Could Be New Rubber Sourceon April 6, 2015 at 10:17 am
Science is working on that but in the meantime it might be possible to turn rubber into a renewable commodity again, using prickly lettuce, a common weed that has long vexed farmers. Credit: Jared ...
via Bing News