Investigation of Guayule's Agronomic Performance and Agro-processing in South Africa
Mutepe, Rendani Daphney
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Guayule (Parthenium argentatum) is grown for its high quality hypoallergenic natural rubber latex production. The plant is native to the Chihuahua desert of North America and successful trials have been done in Europe, the United States of America (USA) and the Republic of South Africa (RSA). It is already undergoing industrial scale development in the USA producing good quality rubber products with impressive stretchiness and strength. The performance of guayule lines AZ1, AZ2, AZ3, AZ4, AZ5, AZ6, OSU1, and 11591 was investigated in the Eastern and Western Cape regions in RSA with an ultimate goal of leading to commercial production. To ensure continuous supply of plants, and avoiding documented seed dormancy issues, a micropropagation protocol was established using the OSU1 guayule line. In addition, laboratory scale latex extraction was accomplished using the Waring blender method with KOH pH 11 buffer and the amount of latex was quantified using the 1 ml latex quantification method. The extracted latex homogenate from the different guayule lines was pooled and purified using Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose. The efficiency of different molecular weights (90 000, 250 000 and 700 000) of Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose was determined in creaming guayule latex at room temperature and 4 degrees celcius. The optimal creaming results were incorporated into creaming latex extracted from the different guayule lines during this study.