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Published on January 1, 2002

Biological and Physical Characteristics of Parthenium Argentatum (Guayule) Latex

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Date Published January 1, 2002
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This Report has been authored by:Katrina Cornish at USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center

Gyayule (Parthenium argentatium) is under development as a commercially-viable source of latex (Yulex™Latex) which does not cause allergic reactions in patients suffering from Type I Hevea brasilienis latex allergy. Yulex Corporation has begun commercial guayule farming in Arizona and is currently building the first commercial bioprocessing plant for the extraction and purification of Yulex™ Latex and other valued co-products. We have investigated the effect of agronomic and post-harvest parameters on latex yield and have developed a preliminary crop model. Also, we have investigated some biological and physical properties of guayule latex harvested at different seasons, branch age and plant part to help guide farmers and processors to produce latex of consistently high quality. We have made some direct comparisons with different sources of H. latex and with Ficus elastica latex. Using a range of techniques, including micro-BCA protein assays, ASTM stress-strain evaluations, viral barrier tests, GPC-mass detection, SEC-MALLS, rheology and cryo-scanning electron microscopy, we find that high quality latex rubber from guayule can be used in all natural rubber applications investigated so far. Very interestingly, guayule latex rubber also possesses a number of unique properties that have yet to be thoroughly investigated or capitalized upon.