Latex Foam Beds Information
Currently ninety percent (90 %) of the natural rubber production globally emanates from Southeast Asia and is produced from over 15.6 million acres of cultivated land. The leading countries producing natural rubber, in order of production volume, are Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar. The three largest of these, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia, produce 85% of the world’s natural rubber. In the past, Cambodia’s rubber has been traded primarily through the other Southeast Asian countries. With the collapse of the rubber cartel, which controlled production volume and pricing, a glut of natural rubber has stymied the sales of natural rubber produced in Southeast Asia. Countries such as Thailand and Malaysia are not as eager to acquire rubber from Cambodia when they are having difficulty marketing their own natural rubber. Thus Gateway Commerce International, Inc. can offer natural rubber directly from Cambodia for the long term and at a discount to the world rubber market.
Natural rubber is coagulated elastic latex, obtained from the white, milky liquid known as latex that circulates through small veins in the inner bark of certain trees (rubber trees) native to tropical and semitropical regions of the world. Since the early 20th century the chief source of latex has been the Hevea brasiliensis (Euphorbiaceae family) tree. It is a tall tree of softwood with high, branching limbs and a large area of bark. The rubber trees are planted in rows on rubber plantations that cover vast tracts of land in Southeast Asia. The Hevea brasiliensis tree is indigenous to South America but was adapted by English botanists for Africa, India and Southeast Asia during the 19th century. Although other varieties of rubber trees have been cultivated, the Hevea brasiliensis is now responsible for includely all of the commercial natural rubber production in the world.
The Hevea brasiliensis tree produces latex, which oozes from cuts, injuries, or a tap located on the tree, as a milky sap. Special cells of the rubber plant called laticifers produce latex. In general, the latex has a biological function in herbivore defense. These laticifers act as a reservoir for biosynthetic materials and metabolic by-products. All latexes are emulsions, aqueous suspensions of insoluble materials, which include alkaloids, terpenes, resins, phenolics, proteins, sugars, and long-chain hydrocarbons.
Harvesting the latex is accomplished when the bark of the Hevea brasiliensis tree is partially cut through (tapped) with a knife. This causes the latex to ooze from the wound and dries to yield a rubbery film. The latex consists of an aqueous suspension of small particles, about 0.5 micrometer in diameter, of cis-polyisoprene, a linear rubbery polymer of high molecular weight. The rubber content of the suspension is about 30 percent.
Rubber trees are tapped about once every two days, yielding a cupful of latex, containing approximately 50 grams (1.7 ounces) of solid rubber, each time. The standard method of tapping is to score the tree with a knife for half the circumference of the trunk, slanting the cut down from left to right at an angle of 30 degrees starting at the highest point convenient to the tapper. Each subsequent cut is made immediately below its predecessor. Trees are often rested for a period after heavy tapping. Production commences when a tree is 5 or 6 years old and with proper management the tree’s useful life may extend to more than 20 years. The trees can be cultivated at a density of 375 trees per hectare (150 trees per acre), approximately 2,500 kilograms of rubber can be produced per hectare per year (one ton per acre per year). English botanists located in Singapore developed most of the cultivation practices that are currently used for natural rubber production at the turn of the 20th century.