And you want to be my latex salesman? 3 ways you can get started

Check out these three talks by CFAES scientists, all of Katrina Cornish’s lab, if you’re interested in sustainable latex production and in new, beneficial latex products, including for health care. They’re from 2-3:30 p.m. on Friday, July 17, in Room 200 in the new Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building at OARDC, CFAES’s research arm in Wooster. It’s a sneak peek of sorts: All three talks are slated for presentation at next month’s International Latex Conference in Akron. The details that follow are the abstracts of the talks.

• ‘Comparative Durability of Natural and Synthetic Latex Gloves’ by Ryan Michel

The following report includes background information about previous research done in medical glove durability, the current methods and procedures used, and data analysis on the test results performed between August 2013 and February 2015. By investigating conditions to which gloves in the medical field are exposed, a durability test has been conceived. The criteria that these gloves must meet, as well as the criteria for the test, have been discussed. The team has developed a working standardized system that can be used to test for medical glove durability while it is in use. Alongside the system, standard procedures have been proposed by the team to be used in order to ensure repeatability and consistency. These protocols have been tested and the results gained were successful in distinguishing between the durability of several currently available medical glove materials.

• ‘Performance of Nitrile and Natural Rubber Latex Blended Thin Films’ by Ghalia Fakoullah

One of the main uses of natural rubber latex is in thin film barrier products such as condoms, dental dams and medical gloves. Both Hevea brasiliensis and Parthenium argentatum Gray (commonly known as guayule) latex can be used to make high-performance films with better physical properties than synthetic elastomers. Guayule latex combines performance with latex allergy avoidance and so is an excellent source of latex for medical applications. In general, natural rubber withstands water, alcohols and some ketones. However, natural rubber has poor chemical resistance against most hydrocarbon and organic solvents. Nitrile rubber is used in numerous applications because of its resistance to attack by a wide variety of chemicals, oils and fuels, but film physical properties are dependent upon the specific polymer and the compound used. Also, although nitrile rubber usually is more resistant than natural rubber to oils and acids, it has inferior strength, tear resistance and flexibility. In this study, thin films were made with different ratios of natural rubber (from Hevea and guayule) blended with nitrile. Their physical properties and solvent resistance were tested and analyzed to determine if an improved properties balance can be achieved.

• ‘Immunochemical Analysis of Latex Proteins from Rubber Dandelion’ by Katrina Cornish

The public health risk of Type I latex allergy, caused by residual latex proteins in Hevea brasiliensis rubber latex products, has led to some gloves and other health-related products being made from synthetic polymers. However, they are not preferred by healthcare providers due to their physical limitations. Guayule latex, from the alternate rubber crop Parthenium argentatum, has been proved to contain none of the protein antigens and immunogens in Hevea natural rubber latex and its products. Another alternate rubber crop now under commercial development is Taraxacum kok-saghyz, and reports abound in which it is assumed that, like guayule, its rubber and latex are innocent of proteins that can trigger allergic reactions in Type I latex sensitized people. Using ELISAs and immunoblots, we have tested anti-Hevea brasiliensis latex protein murine monoclonal IgGs, rabbit polyclonal IgG and human IgE antibodies against T. kok-saghyz latex and purified rubber particles. We demonstrate that this latex contains many cross-reactive proteins, including with the human IgE from Type I latex allergic individuals with clinical symptoms.

Previous posts on the lab’s work herehere and here.

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