Can Rabbitbrush Be a Viable Multi-Use Industrial Crop


Rabbitbrush
Global warming and decreasing oil reserves have mandated the development of renewable and sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based products. Plants, which produce zero balance carbon emission energy feedstocks, represent a particularly attractive alternative to fossil fuels. Furthermore, due the high degree of chemical diversity present in plant kingdom, many plant species are being investigated as replacement for the production of petroleum-based industrial chemicals. 
 
One such plant species is rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus). Rabbitbrush is a highly prolific perennial shrub that is endemic to Nevada and the Great Basin region of the United States. This plant species produces significant amounts natural rubber, oleoresins and cellulosic biomass. As such, while most plants are utilized for single applications, rabbitbrush could be exploited for both the production of industrial (i.e rubber, plastics, coatings, lubricants and adhesives) and energy feedstocks (i.e. biodiesel and cellulosic-based liquid fuels). The goal of this project is to examine the potential of rabbitbrush as a multi-use industrial crop for biomaterial and bioenergy applications.