New studies reveal lettuce as an unlikely source of rubber

By Kate Hassett

New studies reveal lettuce as an unlikely source of rubber
Prickly lettuce has been found to exhibit similar polymers to natural rubber, making it an ideal alternative to the Brazilian Rubber tree.

New studies by Washing State University have revealed the potential for Prickly Lettuce to become the newest source of rubber for the world.

In the newest research into sustainable crop culture, Ian Burke, author of the study, found that the milky white sap that bleeds from the stem of the lettuce had a similar polymer makeup to those found in natural rubber.

These findings have provided insight into what could be an environmentally friendly, sustainable and economically viable source of natural rubber.

Seventy percent of the world’s rubber is used in the production of tyres, and lately has been threatened by the Brazilian Rubber tree being prone to disease and the increasing focus on synthetic models – using harmful petrochemicals.

These studies are useful in providing a sustainable alternative to these worldwide issues of production with the plant flourishing in low-watered environments – meaning a year wide crop cycle with multiple harvests a season.

Would you prefer to see sustainable and environmentally sound production of rubber, over synthetic options?



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