Dandelion rubber project scientists honored through award

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Leading scientists collaborating on a dandelion rubber project for the development of car tire prototypes have been awarded the prestigious Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Scientists working on project RUBIN – Industrial emergence of natural rubber from dandelion, which is carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, the Institute for Plant Biology and Biotechnology of the University of Münster, Germany, and the tire division of Continental in Hanover, have been awarded the prize for their research on the Russian dandelion and the development of car tire prototypes based on dandelion rubber.

Prof. Dirk Prüfer and Dr Christian Schulze Gronover (IME and Institute of Plant Biology and Biotechnology), and Dr Carla Recker (Continental) received the award in Wiesbaden, Germany.

“During our research, we have discovered which genes promote rubber production and which ones hinder it,” said Professor Prüfer. “We were able to use this knowledge to develop plants that produce twice as much natural rubber. We also managed to extract several kilos of dandelion rubber with a small pilot system. This opened up prospects in terms of scaling up industrial production to the level of tons.”

The project is running successfully so far. The first test tires have already been tested under both summer and winter conditions. Tires made from dandelion rubber have shown an equivalent property profile with those made from traditional hevea-sourced natural rubber.

For more information on the project see the March issue of Tire Technology International, and a feature on natural rubber in the July issue.

June 24, 2015 

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the ground-breaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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