March 25, 2009

Corn, soy become cupcake wrappers

Purdue University students have created award-winning new uses for corn and soybeans, including cupcake liners and cork products.

Three teams of students were awarded top honors this week in the university's annual Student Soybean and Corn Innovation Contests.

These contests are about more than just creating new products, said Professor Bernie Tao. The future success of our country depends on our graduates' abilities to innovate and market more sustainable products. That's something that can be hard to teach in a classroom.

Purdue's TerraMat and Melt-A-Way Cupcake Liners teams tied for top honors in the soybean portion of the competition, earning $17,500 each.

TerraMat, a cork product made of both soybeans and corn, was created by Jacob Smoker, a junior from Wanatah, Ind., and Mohamad Abiad, a doctoral student from Beirut, Lebanon.

The cupcake liners are designed to become part of the cupcake during the baking process, eliminating the necessity of removing a paper liner and also reducing paper waste. The product was created by students Erin Rosswurm, Victoria Horton, Marci Colglazier and Professor Lisa Mauer.

In the corn-only portion of the contest, students created biodegradable toilet paper and won a cash prize of $10,000.

Other products in this year's competition included a decomposable flowerpot, car wax, paint balls, biodegradable cigarette filters and biodegradable shotgun cartridge casings.