DURHAM, N.C.—A new startup company, Edison Agrosciences Inc., is developing a sunflower rubber crop in order to diversify rubber production.
According to the company website, sunflower is a native rubber-producing plant that can be an attractive candidate for the development of a broad acreage rubber crop in the U.S.
The company claims that rubber accumulates in commercial sunflower leaves to levels of 1 to 2 percent of dry weight.
It said it hopes that a four- to five-fold increase in sunflower's level of rubber production would be sufficient to make it a commercially viable source of natural rubber.
Citing security filings, a recent report by Bizjournals.com said that the state-funded startup had raised about $830,000.
Sunflower is an annual crop, which according to Edison Agroscience, was grown on 1.56 million acres in the U.S. in 2014.
The crop has short growing seasons and requires little watering.