Natural rubber is a unique biopolymer whose physical properties cannot be replicated in synthetic alternatives; therefore, it is required for production of tires passenger, truck, and aircraft) and thousands of consumer and medical products.
Natural rubber supply from the tropical rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis, is constrained by competing land, forest conservation, and diseases. Guayule (Partheni- um argentatum), a woody perennial shrub native to the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico, is under cultivation in central Arizona for production of natural rubber and resins.
In 2013, a new extraction processing plant opened in Casa Grande, Ariz., owned and operated by PanAridus, L.L.C., supplying guayule natural rubber bales for evaluation and commercial development. Rubber extraction process trials were performed based on solvent extraction technology; agronomic and process parameters were optimized during production of more than 180 lots of material.