High Purity Extraction of Rubber From Taraxacum

Rubber is a crucial material used worldwide, but it is becoming scarce due to high demand and limited areas to grow rubber trees. New methods and processes are needed to overcome the shortage of this essential material.

The Need

Natural rubber is a critical raw material in many industrial supply chains because of its unique properties, such as high durability, flexibility, and water resistance, make it invaluable for a wide range of products, including high-performance auto and aircraft tires, electronic cables, and medical devices. However, due to environmental issues and the growing demand for rubber, shortages are expected in the near term, along with rising prices. As a result, manufactures are seeking alternative methods and sources for production.

A promising alternative source for rubber is dandelions (e.g., Taraxacum kok-saghyz, TK), where the roots contain 2 to 20% rubber and 20-50% inulin. Inulin is a carbohydrate used as a food additive of fermentable sugars. While the Eskew process has been used to extract the components from the plant, its complicated, has high energy requirements, and has high levels of impurities (< 10%). Therefore, new methods that can more efficiently isolate rubber components from the plant with low impurities would significantly benefit the growing demand for rubber.

The Technology

This technology provides a simple enzymatic process, called PENRA V, to extract natural rubber from TK with a high yield. The resultant rubber is suitable for commercial tire production and other elastomer products. Preliminary data demonstrate the process generates less than 1% impurities and meets high technical grades for commercial production.

Commercial Applications

This invention could be used by commercial rubber and tire manufacturers as well as elastomer production.

Benefits/Advantages

Provides an efficient method for extracting rubber from TK, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis). The process could help overcome the rubber shortage and lower the prices of rubber products.

Patents

PCT/US2022/073364

Patents

Patent # Title Country
63/219,503 PROCESS FOR HIGH YIELD, HIGH PURITY EXTRACTION OF RUBBER FROM NON-HEVEA SOURCES United States of America

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