Tucson tech: Desert shrub guayule may be new major source of natural rubber

Guayule in the field at the Maricopa Agricultural Center. (Photo by Edwin Remsberg)
Guayule in the field at the Maricopa Agricultural Center. (Photo by Edwin Remsberg)

Twenty years ago, scientists at the University of Arizona began studying guayule, a small desert shrub farmed as a source of natural rubber.

The research helped one Arizona company commercialize guayule on a limited scale, producing a virtually allergy-free latex used in medical gloves.

Now, the UA is studying guayule - pronounced "why-YOU-lee") - again as the plant is poised for wide-scale commercialization, and tire makers and others look to address a projected shortage of natural rubber.

The UA recently was awarded a $3 million, five-year grant by Phoenix-based Yulex Corp. focused on breeding and developing guayule for the production of "biorubber" for medical, consumer and industrial applications.

Read the rest of this May 21, 2013 Arizona Daily Star article at the link below.

Date released: 
Jun 4 2013
Contact: 
Dennis Ray