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Dandelion: feedstock for rubber and inulin

IS THE CULTIVATION OF THIS DANDELION FEASIBLE IN WESTERN EUROPE?

Taraxacum koksaghyz (TKS) or the “rubber dandelion”, is a wild, undomesticated species. The root contains polyisoprene molecules, the building blocks for natural rubber. The rubber dandelion was widely cultivated in the Soviet Union between 1931 and 1950. After World War II, this track was abandoned due to the import of rubber from the rubber tree, but also due to the development of the petrochemical sector and the production of synthetic rubber.

QUALITY CONTROL IN FIELD TRIALS AND CULTIVATION OPTIMISATION

The European research programme "Drive4EU" renews the research into the potential of the rubber dandelion as a production platform for both natural rubber and inulin. The inulin can be used as a feedstock for green chemicals such as furan-based polymers. The combination of rubber and inulin makes the rubber dandelion an interesting crop.

FROM 3.3 TONNES OF DRY MATTER/HA UP TO ....

In 2015, the first field trials were carried out with the rubber dandelion. We planted on fields with and without ridges. The yield varied from 1.3 tons DS/ha to 3.3 tons DS/ha. The yield was mainly determined by the planting densities that could be achieved in flat vs. ridge cultivation. Initial experiences with harvesting were positive. In 2016 and 2017 new field trials were performed to optimize the cultivation of rubber dandelion in relation to the rubber and inulin yield.

More information: donald.dekeyser@ilvo.vlaanderen.be, hilde.muylle@ilvo.vlaanderen.be

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