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Project Content

The goal of this project is to develop technologies for the mass production of protein-free natural rubber, prototype production of protein-free natural rubber, biodegradation of used natural rubber, and effluent treatment discharged from the protein-free natural rubber production process. We expected to reduce the Greenhouse gas emission of approximately 60 million tons*1 per year. Specifically, in Research Group 1, "Mass Production of Protein-Free Natural Rubber," we will establish mass-production technology for protein-free natural rubber and propose international standards for protein-free natural rubber and related technologies. Under Research Group 2, "Production of Protein-Free Natural Rubber Products," we will create protein-free natural rubber products prototypes. Under Research Group 3, "Biodegradation of Natural Rubber," establish biodegradation technology for natural rubber products. In Research Topic 4, "Wastewater Treatment Technology," the research group will develop environmental protection technology for resource-recovery wastewater treatment and conduct a literature review on sustainable rubber plantations. In addition, the overall GHG emissions from the entire protein-free natural rubber production process from the manufacturing process to wastewater treatment will be evaluated.




Mass production of protein-free natural rubber


Protein-free natural rubber is expected to be used in a variety of applications, including the production of allergen-free natural rubber products and the improvement of the fuel efficiency of tires. Once the technology for mass production of this protein-free natural rubber is established, the superiority of natural rubber over synthetic rubber will increase, and the replacement of synthetic rubber with natural rubber is expected to speed up.



Production of protein-free natural rubber products


Protein-free natural rubber cannot be subjected to the vulcanization conditions of natural rubber because the proteins that play an important role in vulcanization have been completely removed. Hence, a vulcanization formulation for protein-free natural rubber needs to be considered. The vulcanization method to be established in this study is an important technology that will serve as a cornerstone for the production of allergen-free natural rubber gloves and fuel-efficient tires made from protein-free natural rubber.





Biodegradation of natural rubber 

天然ゴム分解菌によるフラスコスケールでの天然ゴム分解の達成、2) ゴム製品中の配合剤除去に関わる複数の白色腐朽菌の発見の成果を得た。天然ゴムの生分解に関する既往の知見は乏しかったことから、これらの成果は天然ゴムの生分解技術を実装するための基盤となる。

Achievement of flask-scale degradation of natural rubber by natural rubber-degrading bacteria and 2) discovery of several white rot fungi involved in the removal of compounding agents in rubber products. Given the paucity of previous knowledge on natural rubber biodegradation, these results provide a foundation for implementing natural rubber biodegradation technology.



wastewater treatment technology


The production process of protein-free natural rubber generates wastewater containing urea, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), and polar solvents used in the production process. The composition of this wastewater is different from that of wastewater discharged from the normal natural rubber manufacturing process, and SDS and polar solvents are especially harmful to microorganisms. In this research project, we will develop a technology that can treat these wastewaters.

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