News | October 11, 2016

Kultevat And KeyGene Enter Into A Partnership And License Agreement To Scale Up Dandelion Rubber Production In North America

Saint Louis, MO /PRNewswire/ - Kultevat Inc. (St. Louis, MO) and KeyGene Inc. (Wageningen, The Netherlands) have extended their research collaboration to produce natural rubber in roots of dandelion plants for the sustainable production of natural rubber. The renewed collaboration builds on breakthroughs in plant breeding by KeyGene, expanded planting by Kultevat, and improved rubber extraction technologies. The collaboration includes commercial growing of hybrid rubber dandelion plants that will increase per acre production of natural rubber in North America.

A Novel Crop: Flexilis® Hybrid Significant milestones have been reached in KeyGene's rubber dandelion development program. Using molecular breeding technologies KeyGene has, for the first time, combined the capacity of the Kazakh dandelion plant (Taraxacum koksaghyz) to produce high levels of rubber, with the well-known vigorous growth potential of the common Dutch dandelion plant (Taraxacum officinale). A novel interspecific hybrid crop "Flexilis® hybrid" has been developed; the hybrid produces the same amount of high quality rubber per gram of root tissue as the much smaller Kazakh dandelion plants. Simultaneously a high performing variant of the Kazakh dandelion Flexilis® plus has been developed, ready for large scale production of dandelion roots.

Kultevat is a strategic KeyGene partner for exploitation of the novel dandelion varieties in North America. The Kultevat team has developed cultivation practices for the dandelion crop and initiated the first production fields at various locations in the USA. Initial results confirm the ability of this crop to deliver a profitable rubber business. In addition the Kultevat team has developed a highly efficient rubber extraction method that can be scaled to factory level. The next goal of Kultevat is to produce sufficient amounts of dandelion rubber for the development of various natural rubber applications.

Anker Sørensen, VP New Business at KeyGene and leader of the rubber dandelion program: "We are very glad to extend our long standing collaboration with Kultevat into a commercial phase. The Kultevat team is very experienced in the natural rubber industry and dedicated to make our Flexilis® Hybrid crop into a commercial success. The world is in need of a novel sustainable alternative to the Hevea rubber grown in rubber tree-plantations in south-east Asia, and the combination of strengths of our two companies are ideally suited to make that happen".

Dan Swiger, CEO Kultevat: "Kultevat is committed to the joint development of rubber dandelion to promote the better use of natural resources while, in the future, enabling Kultevat to deliver a reliable and efficient supply of natural rubber at production bases in North America. "We expect that development of the Flexilis® plus and Flexilis® hybrid varieties will allow Kultevat to provide a steady supply of high-performance natural rubber with low environmental impact to a greater number of customers"

Kultevat is an Ag-Chem-Biotech company privately-held company headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. Kultevat serves sustainable agricultural markets, primarily by the production of rubber and mixed sugar feedstocks for the biofuels market. Kultevat has vast experience in the commercial utilization of plant materials to develop profitable, sustainable, and environmentally benign sources of rubber. Kultevat serves to reduce near-total dependence on foreign sources of rubber globally.

About KeyGene
The crop innovation company KeyGene is the go-to AgBiotech company for higher crop yield & quality. With our intellectual capital, solution driven approach and collaborative spirit, we work for the future of global agriculture with partners in the AgriFood sector. Using our proprietary technologies and non-GM approaches, we support customers with the development of new and improved crops. Our goal is to help organizations with their toughest R&D challenges, combining our cutting edge breeding technologies, bioinformatics & data science expertise and plant-based trait platforms.

SOURCE: Kultevat, Inc.

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