With the world's supply of natural rubber decreasing, it is becoming increasingly important that alternatives are developed. In July, Indian-Dutch company Apollo unveiled a prototype tyre made from dandelions.
The bane of many gardeners’ lives, the dandelion is a persistent little weed with strong roots. Now a Russian species of dandelion is being used to make a rubber like substance from the milky sap in the roots.
It seems that the weed-based natural rubber is one of the many methods being developed in order to win the race for the multi-million pound rubber alternative – a battle that involves government agencies, big businesses and scientific research establishments.
The Apollo prototype that uses European grown rubber, if successful in tests, is hoped to be in full production by 2015.
Alternative rubber sourcing is necessary, in order to keep up with demand. Developing nations such as Brazil, China, India and countries of the former Soviet Union are particularly in need.
Tyre producer Bridgestone is one of the many companies that has invested heavily in research and commercial and sustainable development of the dandelion known as Taraxacum kok-saghyz (TKS) – a plant native to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
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Posted by Danielle Barge