Russian dandelion might soon contribute to the tire industry. The world's largest tire and rubber company Bridgestone is testing Russian dandelion as raw material for tire rubber.
Researchers at Bridgestone America are experimenting to see how the plant might be fit for high-quality rubber production, the company reports.
According to reports the company’s researchers in Akron and Tokyo have already come up with promising results. They hope the Russian dandelion might be just as useful in rubber production as the Hevea tree, the main source of natural rubber used in tires today.
"We know that there are more than 1,200 types of plants from which natural rubber could in theory be harvested, but finding one that could practically produce the quality and amount of rubber needed to meet the demands of today's tire market is a challenge," said Dr. Hiroshi Mouri, President, Bridgestone Americas Center for Research and Technology.
"Bridgestone continues to dedicate substantial resources to finding sustainable alternatives for the natural rubber needed to manufacture tires and other high-quality rubber products, and we're excited about this potentially game-changing discovery with the Russian Dandelion," he added.
The tire and rubber company’s labs will continue testing the Russian Dandelion-harvested natural rubber this summer and plan larger scale testing for 2014.
The Russian dandelion project is being developed in cooperation with the Program for Excellence in Natural Rubber Alternatives at Ohio State University PENRA.