Teams of Purdue University students who made cosmetics from corn and a biodegradable electronic substrate earned the top prizes in the annual Student Soybean and Corn Innovation Contests.

The awards were announced at a banquet Wednesday night (March 28) in Indianapolis.

The competitions, sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, teach students how to be innovative entrepreneurs with corn and soybeans.

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

"Indiana soybean and corn farmers continue to fund these competitions at Purdue because they believe that encouraging students to think about corn and soybeans in new ways benefits our state's soybean and corn industries in a multitude of ways," said Jane Ade Stevens, executive director for both the corn and soybean checkoff organizations. "We are excited to see that interest in these competitions continues to be strong and that we continue to attract students from across the university who use their creativity and knowledge to bring us a high caliber of products."

The winning corn team produced Ceres Cosmetics, composed of 40 percent corn chaff, which is known for its ability to absorb oils and is hypoallergenic. The corn chaff powder replaces the talc normally found in cosmetics.

"Its environmental footprint is significantly smaller," the team said. "The target market for Ceres Cosmetics will be environmentally conscious women who care deeply about what they put on their bodies."

Ceres Cosmetics team members are Jessica Brazelton, a graduate biology student of Monongahela, Pa.; Michaelann Kresel, a senior agro-business student of Westville, Ind.; Soo Yee Kuah, a junior biochemistry student from Ipoh, Malaysia; and Shengjie Xu, a junior biology student of Shanghai.

The winning soybean team created Soytronics, a flexible, lightweight and low-cost substrate on which an electronic circuit is printed. The team said the key advancement is in replacing petroleum-derived, epoxy-based substrates currently used for making printed circuit boards. 

 

"As the major component of our substrate is a soy derivative, our substrates are biodegradable, eco-friendly and reusable," the team said.

Soytronics team members are Carmen Valverde-Paniagua, a junior mechanical engineering student of Chihuahua, Mexico, and chemical engineering graduate students Aniruddha Kelkar of Mumbai, India; and Anand Venkatesan of Chennai, India.

Second-place teams received a $10,000 prize.

The second-place corn team developed helmet padding made from corn starch. The padding can be used in helmets that would need to absorb dangerous blows, such as in football. Team Kaizen members are Alice Bao, a junior management student from Beijing; Jin Sun, an agronomy graduate student from Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China; Peren Xiao, a junior economics  student from Austin, Texas; and Xiangye Xiao, a graduate student in agronomy from Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China.

The second-place soybean team developed SoyBright, a nanomolecular soy-based polish aimed primarily at the automotive market. Team members are Milad Alucozai, a sophomore psychology student from West Lafayette, Ind., and Edward Van Bogaert, a senior history student from Rochester, Ill.