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Natural Rubber Production

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Contract: 140D6319C0037
Agency Tracking Number: D18C-001-0026
Amount: $224,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: ST18C-001
Solicitation Number: 18.C
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-08-16
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-06-15
Small Business Information
100 Capitola Drive STE 240
Durham, NC 27713
United States
DUNS: 079201204
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Thomas Hohn
 (919) 548-1303
Business Contact
 Thomas Hohn
Phone: (919) 548-1303
Research Institution
 Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
 Melissa Kerckhoff Melissa Kerckhoff
975 North Warson Road
St. Louis, MO 63132
United States

 (314) 587-1285
 Nonprofit college or university

Natural rubber is an essential manufacturing material that possesses performance properties that are superior to synthetic rubber for many product applications. However, natural rubber production is limited to a single species (rubber tree) in a limited geographic area (Southeast Asia) and is predicted to be incapable of meeting future demand. Producing rubber from another commercial crop such as sunflower would greatly reduce the probability of a disruption in its supply and potentially make the US independent of imported natural rubber. Sunflower currently accumulates rubber in its leaves at 1-2% dry weight. In order for sunflower to become a commercially viable source of rubber, this level must be increased 3- to 5-fold. The overall goal of this STTR project is to engineer sunflower with higher levels of rubber production enabling a commercially competitive, domestically sourced, rubber crop. Phase I will characterize the role of three potentially key genes in rubber biosynthesis. Objective 1 is to transform sunflower with rubber pathway genes to test their ability to alter rubber production. Objective 2 will characterize the native sunflower rubber manufacturing properties. Phase II will build on the knowledge gained from the Phase I project to develop approaches for engineering improved sunflower rubber production.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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