MARICOPA, Ariz. (Sept. 6) — Yulex Corp. has joined Mendel Biotechnology and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a joint effort to increase the yield and biomass of guayule rubber.
The agreement between the companies and the USDA's Agricultural Research Service Biotechnology calls for the development and field testing of proprietary guayule plants with enhanced natural rubber latex yields and increased biomass, Yulex said. Mendel Biotechnology is a closely held private company involved in genetic modification of plants.
"Using our expertise in plant regulatory genes and proprietary technology in transferring these genes, we are optimistic that we can create improved varieties of guayule that will make twice as much rubber," said Robert Creelman, senior scientist at Mendel Biotechnology.
During the next three years, Yulex, Mendel Biotechnology and USDA scientists will test the new guayule transgenic lines and enhanced rubber biosynthesis genes for yield improvements as well as stress tolerance. Yulex said it will conduct latex extraction and chemical tests, the USDA researchers will perform agronomic, chemical and biochemical tests, and Mendel will carry out molecular tests on the new transgenic guayule plants.