Childhood memory: Almost everyone knows how well dandelion seeds can fly. But did you also know that the dandelion really has it all – namely rubber and the sugar substitute inulin?
Scientists at the Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants in Quedlinburg estimate that around one tonne of natural rubber could be harvested from one hectare of 350,000 dandelions. This means that Europe could sustainably relieve the global rubber production of around twelve million tonnes. Because dandelions grow even on poorer soils. The Russian variant Taraxacum kok-saghyz is particularly productive. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology in Münster have now succeeded in doubling the rubber content of the Russian dandelion and extracting it from the roots of the plant in an environmentally friendly manner. In the future this could be used to manufacture car tyres, rubber gloves or mattresses – one car tyre model has already successfully passed the practical test at a major automotive supplier. A major step towards production maturity of dandelion cultivation for rubber production.