Prospects for Australian emerging industries
Emerging industries play an important role in the Australian agricultural landscape, contributing to the national economy and helping meet changing global demand. This prospectus is...
Published: 27 Sep 2005
Author(s): George, D, Gupta, M, Dissanayake, P
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Guayule, a crop suited to semi-arid areas, produces latex that is low-allergenic and is thus vital to people who may suffer life-threatening allergies caused by tropical Hevea rubber. There is an increasing demand for high end rubber products for medical use such as rubber gloves and catheters as well as condoms. The availability of Hevea rubber is decreasing due to reduced labour and competition from other crops. Synthetic rubber, while being non-allergenic, does not possess the resistance to viral transmissivity of guayule rubber, and its price is increasing due to increased petroleum prices. Australia has large areas of land with soils and climate suitable to guayule production. Yulex Corporation (U.S. based) has expressed interest in setting up a pilot plant in Australia to process the crop. The report describes three major areas of research: evaluation of USDA germplasm, seed dormancy and direct seeding.