Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 155–162 | Cite as

Visualization of the Malleability of the Rubber Core of Rubber Particles from Parthenium argentatum Gray and Other Rubber-Producing Species Under Extremely Cold Temperatures

  • Katrina Cornish
  • Delilah F. Wood


Rubber particles from Parthenium argentatum Gray (guayule) were frozen in liquid nitrogen (−196°C), fractured, and visualized using cryo-scanning electron microscopy. We observed that the rubber polymer core of the rubber particles was still malleable at this extremely cold temperature, and the core stretched substantially during separation of the fracture planes. This malleability was observed in situ in tissue sections, as well as in purified rubber particles, and was found to be independent of purification procedure, guayule line, tissue age, or season. The malleability or stretching phenomenon suggests that P. argentatum rubber has some unique properties because rubber particles from Hevea brasiliensis Müll. Arg. and Ficus elastica Roxb. were brittle at this temperature, fractured cleanly, or showed only tiny threads of material pulling out of the core.

Guayule natural rubber polyisoprene rubber particles cryo-scanning electron microscopy field emission scanning electron microscopy 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    J. W. Whitworth and E. E. Whitehead Whitehead (eds.) (1991) Guayule natural rubber: a technical publication with emphasis on recent findings. Guayule Administrative Management Committee and USDA Cooperative State Research Service, Office of Arid Lands Studies, Univ. Arizona, Tucson.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    D. T. Ray (1993) Guayule: a source of natural rubber. Pps. 338-346. In: Jules Janick and James E. Simon (eds.). New crops: exploration, research, and commercialization. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    A. B. Carey, K. Cornish, P. J. Schrank, B. Ward, and R. A. Simon (1995) Cross reactivity of alternate plant sources of latex in subjects with systemic IgE mediated sensitivity to Hevea brasiliensis latex. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 74, 317-320.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    K. Cornish (1996) Hypoallergenic Natural Rubber Products from Parthenium argentatum (Gray) and other non-Hevea brasiliensis species, U.S. Patent No. 5580942.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    K. Cornish (1998) Hypoallergenic Natural Rubber Products from Parthenium argentatum (Gray) and other non-Hevea brasiliensis species, U.S. Patent No. 5717050.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    K. Cornish, J. L. Brichta, P. Yu, D. F. Wood, M. W. McGlothlin and J. A. Martin (2001) Guayule latex provides a solution for the critical demands of the non-allergenic medical products market. Agro-Food-Industry hi-tech 12(6), 27-31.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    D. J. Siler and K. Cornish (1994) Hypoallergenicity of guayule rubber particle proteins compared to Hevea latex proteins. Indus-trial Crops and Products 2, 307-313.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    D. J. Siler, K. Cornish, R. G. Hamilton (1996) Absence of cross-reactivity of lgE antibodies from Hevea brasiliensis latex allergic subjects with a new source of natural rubber latex from guayule (Parthenium argentatum). J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 98, 895-902.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    K. Cornish and C. D. Lytle (1999) Viral impermeability of hypoallergenic, low protein, guayule latex films. J. Biomed. Mater. Res. 47, 434-437.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    W. W. Schloman Jr., F. Wyzgoski, D. McIntyre, K. Cornish, and D. J. Siler (1996) Characterization and performance testing of guayule latex. Rubber Chem. Technol. 69, 215-222.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    W. Davis (1997) The rubber industry's biological nightmare. Fortune Aug. 4, 86-95.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    K. Cornish, D. F. Wood, and J. J. Windle (1999) Rubber particles from four different species, examined by transmission electron microscopy and electron paramagnetic resonance spin labeling, are found to consist of a homogeneous rubber core enclosed by a contiguous, monolayer biomembrane. Planta 210, 85-96.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    D. F. Wood and K. Cornish (2000) Microstructure of purified rubber particles. Int. J. Plant Sci. 161, 435-445.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    K. Cornish, D. J. Siler, O. K. Grosjean, and N. Goodman (1993) Fundamental similarities in rubber particle architecture and function in three evolutionarily divergent plant species. J. Nat. Rubber Res. 8, 275-285.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    D. J. Siler, M. Goodrich-Tanrikulu, K. Cornish, A. E. Stafford, and T. A. McKeon (1997) Composition of rubber particles of Hevea brasiliensis, Parthenium argentatum, Ficus elastica and Euphorbia lactiflua indicates unconventional surface structure. Plant Physiol. Biochem. 35, 281-290.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    K. Cornish and J. L. Brichta, Rheological properties of latex from Parthenium argentatum Gray compared with latex from other rubber-producing species. J. Polym. Environ. 10, 13-18.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    K. Cornish (2001) Similarities and differences in rubber biochemistry among plant species. Phytochemistry 57, 1123-1134.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    C. L. Swanson, R. A. Buchanan, and F. H. Otey (1979) Molecular weights of natural rubbers from selected temperature zone plants. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 23, 743-748.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    K. Cornish and D. J. Siler (1996) Characterisation of cis-prenyl transferase activity localised in a buoyant fraction of rubber particles from Ficus elastica latex. Plant Physiol. Biochem. 34, 377-384.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    K. Cornish and J. L. Brichta (2002) in J. Janick (Ed.), Trends in New Crops and New Uses, Proceedings of the 5th National Symposium on New Crops and New Uses: Strength in Diversity, November 10-13, 2001. Atlanta, GA, pp. 214-221.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    K. Cornish, M. H. Chapman, F. S. Nakayama, S. H. Vinyard, and L. C. Whitehand (1999) Latex quantification in guayule shrub and homogenate. Ind. Crops Prod. 10, 121-136.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    K. Cornish, M. H. Chapman, J. L. Brichta, S. H. Vinyard, and F. S. Nakayama (2000) Post-harvest stability of latex in different sizes of guayule stems. Ind. Crops Prod. 12, 25-32.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    U. B. Sleytr and A. W. Robards (1977) Plastic deformation during freeze-cleavage: a review. J. Microsc. 110, 1-25.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    A. P. van Gool, R. Lambert, and H. Laudelout (1969) The fine structure of frozen etched Nitrobacter cells. Arch. Mikrobiol. 69, 281-293.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    W. J. Humphreys, B. O. Spurlock, and J. S. Johnson (1974) Critical point drying of ethanol-infiltrated cryofractured biological specimens for SEM. Scanning Electron Microsc. 1974, 276-282.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    K. Cornish and D. L. Bartlett (1997) Stabilisation of particle integrity and particle-bound cis-prenyl transferase activity in stored, purified rubber particles. Phytochem. Anal. 8, 130-134.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katrina Cornish
    • 1
  • Delilah F. Wood
    • 1
  1. 1.Western Regional Research CenterUSDA-ARSAlbany

Personalised recommendations