Teams of Purdue University students who created fiber insulation from soybeans and a fireworks casing from corn won the top prizes in the annual Student Soybean and Corn Innovation Contests.

The awards were announced at a reception Wednesday night (March 20) in Indianapolis.
The competitions, sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council, teach students how to be innovative entrepreneurs with soybeans and corn.

Both teams received a $20,000 prize for their work.

"The experience that students have working with corn and soybeans during this competition is really an introduction for many of them to these crops, especially when it comes to how corn and soybeans can be used as a main component in so many different products," said Jane Ade Stevens, chief executive of both organizations. "Encouraging students to think about corn and soybeans in creative, new ways benefits our corn and soybean farmers just as much as the variety of new products that the students generate."

The winning soybean team produced Nature Loft, a soy protein fiber insulation that can be used in bedding, including sleeping bags; apparel such as hats, gloves and footwear; and other products such as headphones.

 

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Team members are Anshu Gupta of Chennai, India, a third-year doctoral student in chemical engineering, and John Grace of Hudson, Ohio, and Solwoo Kim of Seoul, South Korea, both seniors in management.
The winning corn team created Sky Maize, a biodegradable fireworks casing that is lighter and less expensive than what is now commercially available.

Team Members are Alexander Parobek of Munster, Ind., a junior majoring in chemistry; Jake Hoeing of Rushville, Ind., a junior in agriculture systems management; Polina Navotnaya of  Tashkent, Usbekistan, a junior in chemistry and biochemistry; and Rachel Clayton of Greenwood, Ind., a junior in chemistry.
Second-place teams received a $10,000 prize.

The second-place soybean team developed water-soluble Double Eyelid Glue. Members are Qiting Wu of  Guang, China, a senior in biology; Michelle Chan of Hong Hong, a senior in health and disease; and Yuqian Chen of Fuzhou, China, and Sook Yan Goh of Penang, Malaysia, both seniors in biochemistry.

The second-place corn team created Fog-Away, an anti-fog glass and mirror cleansing solution. Members are Anbo Wang of Jingdezhen, China, a junior in agricultural economics; Mitch French of Pittsboro, Ind., a sophomore in biological engineering; Hannah Doren of Northfield, Ill., a junior in food science; and Benjamin Lins of Racine, Wis., a sophomore in chemical engineering.

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