The root of the Russian dandelion consists largely of latex, as well as other ingredients that may be commercially interesting, such as the sweetener inulin. During the Second World War, rubber was extracted from this type of dandelion in Germany and the Soviet Union. This was forgotten by the emergence of synthetic rubber from petroleum.
Currently, rubber plantations cannot meet the global demand for natural rubber. Many pesticides are also used in rubber bomb cultivation. Rubber from dandelions therefore seems to be an excellent alternative in a circular biobased economy in which sustainability and the use of renewable raw materials are central. So far, KeyGene, Wageningen University & Research and other industrial partners and educational institutions have achieved promising results with their research. Further research is needed to scale up the entire chain from plant to rubber to a high-quality and profitable product. The parties are now taking these steps with the Plant to Band project (Plan-B).
The consortium consists of Barinvest (Nijmegen), KeyGene (Wageningen) and Future Materials Center (Arnhem). The total costs are approximately € 1.3 million. The subsidy is made available by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the province of Gelderland through the OP-East program, in which Gelderland and Overijssel work together with the EU on structural strengthening of the economy in the east of the Netherlands.