Indiana Soy Checkoff Awards Purdue Student Innovators


This week the Indiana Soybean Alliance awarded over $35,000 to Purdue students participating in the 2018 Student Soybean Innovation Competition. A team that developed a soy-based tackifier for hydroseeding solutions, team SoyTack won the $20,000 top prize Wednesday night in Indianapolis. Vice-chair of ISA Joe Tulholski from LaPorte County said Indiana farmers should know that the annual contest funded with checkoff dollars helps bring new products to market.

“What better way to take some of the demand pressure away than by letting a student competition come up with all the different types of ideas that nobody’s ever thought of before on using soybeans or soybean products,” he told HAT. “It’s really a way for us to look for a potential way to gain a new market.”

Jacob Semonis from Warsaw and a member of the winning team, explains the benefits of hydroseeding with soy.

“We believe by utilizing soy protein we have created a superior product for the hydroseeding market,” he said. “We’ve seen that products that usually have a dry time or cure time of around 15 hours, our product does so in about 6-7 hours. So, that saves a lot of time for potential contractors that are trying to do jobs. Our product also has an erosion control rate or percentage of 90.3% to 99.1% vs. other products which range from 80-85% control.”

Other members of the team are Terence Babb, a multidisciplinary engineering major from Lafayette, Susan Hubbard, a biological engineering major from West Lafayette, and Christopher Stichter, an agricultural systems management major from Leesburg, Ind. Semonis is a double major in agricultural economics and agronomy.

Second place and a $10,000 check went to I Am BOBA for their product which uses soy pearls for bubble tea. Caleb Kreis from Crown Point, Indiana explains.

“If you’re familiar with bubble tea, it’s kind of a trendy, millennial product, and as you’re drinking the tea you’re sucking up what is traditionally cassava starch pearls. It’s kind of a mouth feel, oral sensation that keeps you drinking and is enjoyable to chew on. Cassava has very little nutritional value and it’s also all sourced from overseas. Having a starch-based pearl we have much higher nutritional content. It would utilize upwards of 270,000 pounds of soy flour a month creating our products with our factory that we hypothesized.”

Third place and $5,000 was awarded to Soy Soft and their charcoal face mask infused with beta-carotene. People’s Choice award winning team Soy Safe Solution received $500 for their protective food spray made from soy. See an overview and of these and other products in the HAT YouTube video.

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