Dated: 03 March 2011
Are Dandelions the Future of Tyres?
At the end of February, Continental Tyres released a statement saying that they were following - with interest - the results of a study by the University of Münster which was looking into the latex properties of dandelions.
As part of their research, a team at the university has, reportedly, put the weeds through a series of different tests which resulted in the plant producing a gum like elastic which is as strong and as durable as the latex produced by rubber trees.
A professor at the Institute for Plant Biology and Biotechnology in the University of Münster, Dr. Dirk Prüfer, was quoted on the Tyrepress.com website as saying, “The first research results clearly show Russian dandelions to produce a high-quality natural rubber.
“Its physical and chemical properties match up well with those of the Brazilian rubber tree. But growers would have to plant dandelions on a large scale if industry is to be able to use them to produce natural rubber.”
In their release, Continental estimated that in the future, dandelions have the potential to supply 1/10 of the German market demand for rubber.
In the same Tyrepress.com article, Dr. Boris Mergell, The Head of Tire Material and Process Development & Industrialization at Continental was quoted as saying, “Success in making dandelions a source of natural rubber would enable us to respond at rather short notice to supply shifts.
“After all, the plant needs only one year from seeding to harvest. From the cutting of the first sod to the harvesting of the latex, setting up a run-of-the-mill rubber plantation requires roughly five to seven years.”