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Title: Natural rubber (NR) biosynthesis: perspectives from polymer chemistry

Natural rubber is an important strategic raw material for manufacturing a wide variety of industrial products. There are at least 2,500 different latex-producing plant species; however, only Hevea brasiliensis (the Brazilian rubber tree) is a commercial source. The chemical structure of natural rubber is cis-1,4-polyisoprene, but the exact structure of the head and end groups remains unknown. Since synthetic cis-1,4-polyisoprenes cannot match the superior properties of natural rubber, understanding the chemistry behind the biosynthetic process is key to finding a possible replacement. T his chapter summarizes our current understandings from the perspective of a polymer scientist by comparing synthetic polyisoprenes to natural rubber. The chapter also highlights biomimetic polymerization, research towards a synthetic match of natural rubber and the role of natural rubber in health care.
  1. ORNL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Woodhead Publishing Limited, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States