Mar 13

Dandelions and shrubs to replace rubber, new grains and more: Are alternative crops realistic?

Katrina Cornish spends her days raising dandelions and desert shrubs. She harvests the stretchy rubber substances they produce and uses special machines to dip them into condoms, medical gloves and parts for trachea tubes. And she thinks those products could forever alter the landscape of agriculture in the United States.

Cornish, a professor at Ohio State University who studies rubber alternatives, isn’t the only one pouring energy into alternative crops like that desert shrub, guayule, or the rubber dandelions that bloom with yellow petals in the greenhouse where Cornish works. In Arizona, too, guayule thrives amidst drought, its blue-green leaves set apart from dry dirt at a research and development farm operated by the tire company Bridgestone. And in Nebraska and other parts of the central U.S., green grasses of sorghum spring up, waving with reddish clusters of grains. …

Source: AP

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