Spiny salad – a weed that delivers a lot of trouble to American farmers, not accidentally attracted the attention of scientists from the University of Washington. As it turned out, this distant relative of the cultivated salad is a potential source for the production of natural rubber.
An employee of the University Jan Berg, in 2006, noticed that the latex contained in the juice of the prickly salad is very similar to the polymers found in natural rubber. It was then that he had the idea to grow a spiky salad on an industrial scale.
Together with his colleagues Jared Bell and Michael Neff, they selected samples of a prickly salad with the highest content of latex. In the future, when a certain variety of this plant, which is unpretentious and capable of yielding several crops per year, will be derived from them, it will be possible to begin its mass cultivation.