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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The rationale for transforming sunflower into a rubber-producing crop

Authors
item Pearson, Calvin - COLORADO STATE UNIV
item Cornish, Katrina - YULEX CORPORATION
item McMahan, Colleen
item Whalen, Maureen
item Rath, Donna - COLORADO STATE UNIV
item Dong, Niu
item Wong, Stephanie

Submitted to: Proceedings Assoc for Advancement of Industrial Crops (AAIC) Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2007
Publication Date: November 26, 2007
Citation: Pearson, C.H., Cornish, K., Mcmahan, C.M., Whalen, M.C., Rath, D., Dong, N., Wong, S.R. 2007. The rationale for transforming sunflower into a rubber-producing crop. Proceedings Assoc for Advancement of Industrial Crops (AAIC) Annual Meeting. In: Issues in New Crops and New Uses, Editors, Janick, J. and Whipkey, A. Alexandria, Virginia, American Society for Horticultural Science Press. p. 72-77.

Interpretive Summary: Natural rubber is an irreplaceable raw material and constitutes about 45% of the total amount of both natural and synthetic rubber used. Currently, nearly all commercial natural rubber comes from a single species, the Brazilian rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) and the United States is almost completely dependent on imports from developing countries. Leaves of sunflower (Helianthus annuus) produce rubber and researchers have postulated there is genetic potential for increasing the rubber content of cultivated H. annuus. Sunflower is a good candidate as a potential source of rubber because: 1) it already makes rubber which means it can compartmentalize this secondary product; 2) it is adapted for agronomic production; 3) it produces high biomass per acre; and 4) sunflower agronomy is well understood and would need only minor adjustment as a rubber crop.

Technical Abstract: Natural rubber is an irreplaceable raw material and constitutes about 45% of the total amount of both natural and synthetic rubber used. Currently, nearly all commercial natural rubber comes from a single species, the Brazilian rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) and the United States is almost completely dependent on imports from developing countries. Leaves of sunflower (Helianthus annuus) produce rubber and researchers have postulated there is genetic potential for increasing the rubber content of cultivated H. annuus. Sunflower is a good candidate as a potential source of rubber because: 1) it already makes rubber which means it can compartmentalize this secondary product; 2) it is adapted for agronomic production; 3) it produces high biomass per acre; and 4) sunflower agronomy is well understood and would need only minor adjustment as a rubber crop. The objectives of our research were to: 1) develop a reliable method for regenerating transformed sunflower tissue; 2) insert genes into sunflower to increase rubber biosynthesis; 3) evaluate the phenotype of transformed sunflower; and 4) develop a protocol for determining rubber content using the Dionex Accelerated Solvent Extractor (ASE) 200.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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