Yulex Corporation, an agricultural-based biomaterials company, will provide the University of Arizona a $3 million, five-year grant focused on breeding and agronomic development of Guayule for the production biorubber of medical, consumer, and industrial applications.
Yulex and the University of Arizona will apply classical breeding along with modern tools for marker assisted breeding to Guayule lines to select traits for the crop improvement program. University of Arizona’s Dr. Dennis Ray, a world-recognized Guayule expert, will lead the effort to produce a higher yielding rubber crop and to substantially decrease Guayule’s harvest cycle time.
The UA has supported Phoenix-based Yulex since the company’s inception. Yulex’s first experimental crops were planted on the grounds of the campus, and the University substantially contributed to Yulex’s agronomic development successes.
Guayule is an industrial crop that does not compete against food or fiber crops. It is a renewable source of natural rubber latex that can replace petroleum-based synthetics, lessen reliance on imported tropical rubber, and requires relatively little water with no pesticides.
“Yulex is pleased to be providing this grant to the University of Arizona,” said Jeff Martin, Chief Executive Officer, President and Co-founder of Yulex Corporation. “The University has some of the best breeders in the world and this grant will enable the most comprehensive breeding program ever undertaken. Yulex’s extensive research and development in plant breeding, agronomic best practices and harvest technologies are fundamental to the continued advancement of guayule as a new industrial crop and to the expansion of our global licensing program.”
“The UA has a long and storied history of working on the development of guayule as a new industrial crop for Arizona,” said Dr. Dennis Ray, Distinguished Professor at the University of Arizona. “That there is now a guayule industry is due in part to the work of a number of UA researchers over the past 20 years, and that I have been part of this work is very exciting and fulfilling. Commercial production of guayule was always our goal, and we look forward to a continued and productive collaboration with Yulex Corporation, the world leader in developing different biomaterials from guayule. The goal of our work will be to increase the rubber content in Yulex’s guayule lines and to decrease the time to harvest to help in the sustainable cultivation of guayule in Arizona.”
Dr. Dennis Ray Bio
Dennis T. Ray is a University Distinguished Professor in the School of Plant Sciences at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz. His research interests focus on evaluating new crops and products for cultivation and processing in arid environments. Dr. Ray holds a PhD in Genetics from the University of Arizona and has a joint appointment in the UA’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment.
About Yulex Corporation
Yulex Corporation has developed a portfolio of biomaterials derived from the U.S. guayule plant. The company’s innovative materials are designed to replace traditional tropical or petroleum based rubber for consumer, industrial and medical markets, with the residual agricultural materials utilized as a feedstock for bioenergy. Yulex closely collaborates with customers to develop and market highly differentiated, premium performance products in an ecologically responsible, sustainable manner. For more information, visit http://www.yulex.com.
About The University of Arizona
The University of Arizona generates more than $625 million in research and gives the state an annual $2 billion boost. As a public research university serving the diverse citizens of Arizona and beyond, the mission of the UA is to provide a comprehensive, high-quality education that engages our students in discovery through research and broad-based scholarship. The UA partners with industry so that innovative ideas become thriving enterprises. In line with the UA’s land grant mission, faculty and students share their knowledge, their time and their resources throughout the state and around the world.
Source: Yulex Corporation, press release, 2013-05-09.