US-based Yulex Corporation, an agricultural-based biomaterials company, and Four D Rubber, a UK-based manufacturer of latex sheeting for the dental, fitness, clothing and industrial markets and applications, are partnering to produce the first plant-based, latex allergy-friendly dental dam. The Yulex Dental Dam will be made from guayule-based biorubber material. Guayule is a renewable, non-food, latex allergy-friendly crop grown in the US.
Yulex applies sustainable agriculture, clean bioprocessing, and materials science to replace imported Hevea latex and synthetic materials. Consumer and medical products made from Hevea rubber latex can cause a Type 1 Allergic reaction in some people. Yulex’s guayule-based biorubbers do not contain sensitising allergenic proteins.
A desert plant indigenous to the southwest US, guayule is a new industrial crop and the only species other than Hevea that has been used for rubber production on a commercial scale. Guayule requires low water consumption, is latex allergy-friendly and has a clean manufacturing process. Rubber is found primarily in the bark of this desert shrub. To extract the rubber, the branches are ground, releasing intact rubber particles into an aqueous suspension. The materials are separated in a centrifuge, and the rubber mixture is purified. (RJA)