The backstory of a desert plant called guayule (why-you-lee) is like reading a commodity parallel to Forrest Gump. Over the last century, it’s touched names like Edison, Ford, Eisenhower and AIDS. No ad agency or Hollywood scriptwriter could have made this up: a tale of an obscure water-wise, drought resistant plant, which could produce a latex almost chemically identical to the Hevea rubber tree in the tropics that produces all the world’s natural rubber for tires, surgical gloves and medical supplies, sporting equipment, etc. Since the U.S. imports 100% of its natural rubber, development of this plant had implications for national security, climate change adaptation and medical hygiene among other things. While the company’s scientists were busy patenting new strains of the plant and working to increase yields to make it economically competitive with rubber from the Hevea tree, it was my job to tell not just the remarkable story of guayule’s history, but the incredible strides being made towards commercialization. Thanks, in part, to the high grade guayule grown and processed by PanAridus, tire companies like Bridgestone, Cooper and Pirelli have all made prototypes using 100% guayule rubber as they work towards diversifying their global rubber sources.


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Posted on

March 26, 2018

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