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.
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Cornish, K., Wood, D.F. Visualization of the Malleability of the Rubber Core of Rubber Particles from Parthenium argentatum Gray and Other Rubber-Producing Species Under Extremely Cold Temperatures. Journal of Polymers and the Environment 10, 155–162 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021196121296