Night temperature, rubber production, and carbon exchange in guayule

M. E. Veatch-Blohm, D. T. Ray, A. Gehrels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Guayule (Parthenium argentatum Gray), a native of the Chihuahuan desert, produces the majority of its rubber during the winter months. Increased rubber production is thought to be induced by cold night temperatures, but the factors involved in rubber induction are not completely understood. The purpose of this study was to answer three questions about rubber production in the winter: (1) how do immature plants (<180 days) respond to cold night temperatures?; (2) how is rubber production in mature plants (≈1 year) related to night temperature?; and (3) what is the relationship between carbon exchange and rubber production under cold night temperatures? Plants were grown in differentially heated enclosures over three consecutive winters. The warm-night plants were exposed to simulated summer night temperatures and the cold-night plants to ambient winter night temperatures. Plant responses to different night temperatures were monitored by measuring growth, carbon exchange, fresh and dry weight, and resin and rubber production. Immature plants exposed to cold nights had higher rubber concentration than the warm-night plants only in the first year, which had the lowest night temperatures. For the mature plants, dry weight was not significantly different between treatments, but rubber concentration and yield were significantly greater in the cold-night than the warm-night plants. Plants in both treatments had similar carbon exchange rates. Therefore, the similarity in dry weight between treatments was most likely due to increased growth in the warm-night plants and increased rubber deposition in the cold-night plants. Rubber concentration was significantly related to night temperature in both mature and immature plants and appears to be stimulated most by temperatures below 10 °C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-43
Number of pages10
JournalIndustrial Crops and Products
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Carbon exchange
  • Guayule
  • Night temperature
  • Rubber induction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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