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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

The ability of plants to synthesize rubber is based on a single enzyme, rubber transferase, which causes the cis-polymerization of isoprene units, as isopentenyl pyrophosphate, into long, single stranded hydrocarbons. These are assembled and accumulated in the cell as rubber particles which range in size from 0.01 to 15 μm and are bounded by an osmiophilic film. Parthenium argentatimi (guayule) and Hevea brasiliensis represent two species which accumulate large quantities of high molecular weight rubber by different intercellular routes. Rubber synthesis takes place in parenchyma cells in guayule and in specialized latex vessels in Hevea. Biochemical questions concerning rubber synthesis are discussed.

Affiliations: 1: Division of Agriculture, Arizona State University


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