Soy based teeth whitening strips, road salt, air fresheners, antifreeze and coolant, and correction fluid were all on display last week at the Indiana Soybean Alliance sponsored Purdue Student Soy Innovation Competition awards night. For Indiana soybean farmers it has been 21 years of funding the contest to spark creative new uses for the bean found in so many Hoosier fields.
“When farmers hear that kids are involved in inventing and using soybeans, it’s a good story,” said Dave Lowe, president of ISA. “So they find it very interesting and heartwarming, especially like this group that won, (Team Soy Sniffs) they were runner up last year. They took home $10,000 last year and $20,000 this year, and grandfather gave them the idea.”
Many of the competing students have chemistry and engineering majors, but one College of Ag major in this year’s contest, Ryan DeBusk, is from California. He was able to explain what wine, football, and soybeans have in common.
“I come from California and we have a winery back home,” he told HAT. “What brought me out here was the combination of an agriculture school that still had a big power team in football, so between the two it was come and do agriculture at a football school, so I landed on Purdue.”
DeBusk and his DL Soy Cork teammate, Collin Link are both Purdue football walk-on players. Their soy cork innovation stemmed from DeBusk’s knowledge of the wine industry.
“I had a few options when I saw the project and I knew that there was a decrease in the corks being grown and that production was being grown, so I thought it would be real cool to make a domestic, natural alternative to wine corks and stoppers. Currently cork oaks are not grown in the United States.”
He said the DL Soy Cork works a lot like the natural corks but has a longer shelf life than synthetic corks. Their water-tight product fits nicely into the bottle and gives off a nice, traditional pop sound when removed.