ST. LOUIS, Mo.—Kultevat Inc. and Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. have entered into an agreement to accelerate the development of Taraxicum kok-saghya, also known as the Russian dandelion, as an alternate source of rubber to replace materials from Hevea rubber trees.
The research and development pact is aimed at accelerating the breeding effort and the selection of TKS varieties with specific traits that meet the goals of SRI to develop products that reduce the environmental impact of rubber production and refinement, Kultevat said.
It is developing and testing new varieties of TKS for increased productivity of rubber in greenhouse and field trials in the U.S. through its partnership with Wageningen, Netherlands-based KeyGene Inc., an advanced plant breeding company, the firm said.
TKS can be grown in temperate climates, unlike Hevea rubber trees. St. Louis-headquartered Kultevat's goals include increasing the yield of rubber from cultivation of highly productive varieties of TKS in multiple locations in North America.
Sumitomo has committed an undisclosed amount of funding for joint research on TKS to promote a better use of natural resources, ultimately enabling Sumitomo to secure a reliable and efficient supply of natural raw materials at production plants globally, Cultivate said.
“We expect that development of TKS as an economically viable source of rubber will allow SRI to provide a steady supply of high performance tires with low environmental impact to a greater number of customers in the future, Sumitomo President Kinjo Ikeda said in a news release.
“Kultevat's commercialization strategy calls for the company to sell into specialty rubber markets at the outset while the company continues working with Sumitomo to develop products for their purposes,” Daniel R. Swinger, CEO of Kultevat, said in the release.
He said the company expects commercial sales of TKS rubber beginning in 2016.