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Alternative Sources Of Natural Rubber

Dandelion milk has long been known to contain latex. The latex exhibits the same quality as the natural rubber from rubber trees. Yet in the wild types of dandelion, the latex content is low and varies greatly.
In Nazi Germany, research projects tried to use dandelions as a base for rubber production, but failed.
In 2013, by inhibiting one key enzyme and using modern cultivation methods and optimization techniques, scientists in the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) in Germany developed a cultivar that is suitable for commercial production of natural rubber. In collaboration with Continental Tires, IME is building a pilot facility. The first prototype test tires made with blends from dandelion-rubber are scheduled to be tested on public roads over the next few years.