Sumitomo Rubber enters into an R&D agreement with Kultevat for rubber plant breeding

Kultevat is developing and testing new varieties of TKS for increased productivity of rubber in greenhouse and field trials in the US through a partnership with Keygene Inc.,(Wageningen, Netherlands), an advanced plant breeding company. The agreement with SRI will accelerate the breeding effort and the selection of varieties that have specific traits that meet the goals of SRI to develop proprietary products that reduce the environmental impacts of rubber production and refinement. Unlike Hevea rubber trees, TKS can be grown in temperate regions around the globe, including in North America. Kultevat's goals include increasing the yield of rubber from cultivation of highly productive varieties of TKS in multiple locations in North America, and developing green technologies for extraction of product from plant tissues. The Sumitomo Rubber Industries has committed an undisclosed amount of funding for the joint research on TKS (sometimes referred to as Russian dandelions) to promote the better use of natural resources while, in the future, enabling SRI to secure a reliable and efficient supply of natural raw materials at production bases around the world. "We expect that development of TKS as an economically viable source of rubber will allow SRI to provide a steady supply of high-performance tires with low environmental impact to a greater number of customers in the future," said President, Ikuji Ikeda Sumitomo Rubber Industries. "Kultevat's commercialization strategy calls for the company to sell into specialty rubber markets at the outset while the company continues working with the Sumitomo Rubber Industries to develop products for their purposes," Daniel R. Swiger, CEO of Kultevat said. "We have engaged a number of customers and are currently growing TKS for processing and rubber for prototype and testing purposes. We expect commercial sales of rubber beginning in 2016."
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