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Russian dandelion

Dandelion rubber

The Russian dandelion (Taraxacum kok-saghyz), a rustic plant commonly found in temperate and subtropical regions, produces a protein complex that plays a key role in the production of natural rubber. Researchers at the University of Münster, the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME), and the Technical University of Munich, all of them in Germany, in collaboration with TRM, a British company based in the city of York, discovered two components for the biosynthesis of dandelion rubber, which could lead to the product’s biotechnological development for a wide range of medical and industrial applications. One of the proteins identified in the study serves as an activator in the rubber production process. The results were published in the April 27, 2015 online edition of Nature Plants. Another of the proteins identified is responsible for forming long chains of a polymer that gives elasticity and strength to the rubber.