TOKYO—New technology from Bridgestone Corp. is aiming to boost production from the guayule shrub in the quest to create a commercially viable source for alternative natural rubber.
The tire maker used its guayule cultivation expertise and Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd. contributed technology to create a new approach to improve guayule-derived rubber output.
The plan is to use the innovation to boost productivity of guayule farms, a move that backers see as a potential way to lessen dependency on hevea rubber tapped from trees.
Natural rubber production is concentrated in Asia and Africa, but the guayule shrub is native to Southwest America and Mexico. This makes the shrub a candidate to domesticate supply in North America. There is precedence for U.S. natural rubber production as America cultivated the crop during World War II when Japan had a stronghold on Asian sources rubber.