Overview

Brief Summary

Palaquium gutta is best known as the main source of gutta-percha, a product obtained from the latex of the tree after tapping or cutting it down. This rubbery substance, which softens when heated, had many uses historically (including as an insulator for the first trans-Atlantic telephone cables and in the manufacture of golf balls) and is still used in dentistry. The species is native to Sumatra, Malaya, Java, and Borneo. After early destructive tapping, some plantations were established in Java and Singapore. (Heywood 1993; Mabberley 2008)

Like rubber, gutta-percha is composed mainly of a polymer of isoprene, but it differs from rubber in having trans- rather than cis- isomerization, in that it is almost non-elastic, in that it is a better insulator of heat and electricity, and in that it becomes plastic when heated and upon cooling retains the shape acquired when it was heated (Heywood 1993).

Gutta-percha has a rich history (Brown 2003)  but its only common use today is in dentistry (Tronstad 2009) and there are active efforts by dental researchers to replace its with other materials (e.g., Baba et al. 2010).

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Distribution

Palaquium gutta is native to Sumatra, Malaya, Java, and Borneo; the species was planted in Java and Singapore in efforts to establish plantations for the production of gutta-percha (Heywood 1993).

  • Heywood, V.H. (ed.). 1993. Flowering Plants of the World, updated edition. Oxford University Press, New York.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Palaquium gutta

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Palaquium gutta is best known as the main source of gutta-percha, a product obtained from the latex of the tree after tapping or cutting it down. This rubbery substance, which softens when heated, had many uses historically (including as an insulator for the first trans-Atlantic telephone cables and in the manufacture of golf balls) and is still used in dentistry.

Like rubber, gutta-percha is composed mainly of a polymer of isoprene, but it differs from rubber in having trans- rather than cis- isomerization, in that it is almost non-elastic, in that it is a better insulator of heat and electricity, and in that it becomes plastic when heated and upon cooling retains the shape acquired when it was heated (Heywood 1993).

Gutta-percha has a rich history (Brown 2003)  but its only common use today is in dentistry (Tronstad 2009) and there are active efforts by dental researchers to replace its with other materials (e.g., Baba et al. 2010).

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Wikipedia

Palaquium gutta

Palaquium gutta is a tree in the Sapotaceae family. It grows up to 40 metres (130 ft) tall. The bark is reddish brown. Inflorescences bear up to 12 flowers. The fruits are round or ellipsoid, sometimes brownish tomentose, up to 2.5 centimetres (1 in) long. The specific epithet gutta is from the Malay word getah meaning "sap or latex". The tree is a well-known source of gutta-percha latex. Habitat is lowland mixed dipterocarp, kerangas and limestone forests. P. gutta is found in Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Borneo.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Palaquium gutta". The Plant List. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Mohtar, A.P. Abang Mohd. (April 2002). "Palaquium gutta (Hook.f.) Baill.". In Soepadmo, E.; Saw, L. G.; Chung, R. C. K. Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak. (free online from the publisher, lesser resolution scan PDF versions) 4. Forest Research Institute Malaysia. pp. 287–288. ISBN 983-2181-27-5. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 



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