Sunday, 7 February 2010


In January I got this email from Dr Christine Guth:

Dear Rebecca

A very happy new year to you!
I hope you are making good progress on your Japanese dandelion research. Perhaps you have already come across this information, but the January 2 issue of the Economist has an interesting article on a Russian variety of dandelion that may prove to be a new source of rubber! It's in the science and technology section, and naturally, when I read it, I thought of you!

All best

Funnily enough my subscription to Economist had just run out, so I hadn't read it. But Muffy's mum had told me the same thing earlier (see post USA Connection).
Here is the opening paragraph from the article in Economist:

Tremble, Michelin, Tremble.

Other than being an ingredient of the more recherche sorts of salad, herbal tea or wine, dandelions are pretty useless plants. Or, at least, they were. But one species, a Russian variety called Taraxacum kok-saghyz (TKS), may yet make the big time. It produces molecules of rubber in its sap and if two research programmes, one going on in Germany and one in America, come to fruition, it could supplement - or even replace - the traditional rubber tree, Heevea brasiliensis.

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