Identification and comparison of natural rubber from two Lactuca species

Bradley S. Bushman, Andrew A. Scholte, Katrina Cornish, Deborah J. Scott, Jenny L. Brichta, John C. Vederas, Oswaldo Ochoa, Richard W Michelmore, David K. Shintani, Steven J. Knapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Renewed interest in the identification of alternative sources of natural rubber to Hevea brasiliensis has focused on the Compositae family. In our search for Compositae models for rubber synthesis, we extracted latex from stems of two lettuce species: Lactuca serriola, prickly lettuce, and Lactuca sativa cv. Salinas, crisphead lettuce. Both species contained cis-1,4-polyisoprene rubber in the dichloromethane-soluble portions of their latex, and sesquiterpene lactones in their acetone-soluble portions. The rubber from both species and their progeny had molecular weights in excess of 1,000,000 g/mol, and polydispersity values of 1.1. Rubber transferase activity was detected across a range of farnesyl diphosphate initiator concentrations, with decreased activity as initiator concentrations exceeded putative saturation. These results add lettuce to the short list of plant species that produce high molecular weight rubber in their latex. Due to the genomic and agronomic resources available in lettuce species, they provide the opportunity for further dissection of natural rubber biosynthesis in plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2590-2596
Number of pages7
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • cis-1,4-Polyisoprene
  • Compositae
  • Lactuca
  • Lactuca sativa
  • Lactuca serriola
  • Lettuce
  • Rubber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Drug Discovery


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