CARLSBAD, Calif. (Feb. 25)—Guayule latex firm Yulex Corp. has raised $2 million from Argonaut Private Equity, a Tulsa, Okla., venture capital group, to fund expansion of plantings of the latex-bearing desert shrub and complete a pilot processing plant by midyear. There are several hundred acres of guayule now under cultivation, and Yulex plans to increase plantings by 10,000 to 12,000 acres annually until it reaches its goal of 50,000 to 70,000 acres of guayule fields, said Jeffrey Martin, Yulex president and CEO. The pilot plant is being built in modular fashion in northern California, Martin added, and will be moved to either Phoenix or Yuma, Ariz., "depending on which guayule fields we decide to harvest first." Yulex was founded in 1997 on a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where researchers patented a way to make hypoallergenic medical rubber goods from guayule latex.
Yulex raises $2 million to fund guayule planting, pilot facility
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