Agriculture News

March 23, 2016  

Hand soap top entry in soybean innovation contest

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A Purdue University team that created a hand soap with a soy exfoliant took first place in the 2016 Student Soybean Product Innovation Competition.

The group of four students will share a $20,000 prize for their winning entry, SoyFoliate, in the annual contest sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance. The award was presented Tuesday (March 22) during a reception at the Indianapolis Roof Ballroom.

"Indiana soybean farmers, through their investments in the soybean checkoff, have a long history of supporting the innovative research into new uses for soybeans," said Joe Steinkamp of Evansville, Indiana, president of the soybean alliance. "For the last 22 years, this competition at Purdue University has demonstrated this commitment and has encouraged a whole new crop of future researchers to work with soybeans for the benefit of farmers, the soybean industry and the general consumer."

SoyFoliate soap is naturally degradable. Exfoliating soy beads replace plastic microbeads that are being banned in the United States. The current plastic microbeads in commercial consumer products are made of a variety of plastics.

"The customers who will be losing the products they once loved will have an all-natural alternative that will also provide positive effects for the environment," the team said.

Team members are Samuel Lewis of New Castle, Indiana; Steve Ferris of Chesterton, Indiana; Alison Switzer of Indianapolis, all third-year professional students in Purdue's doctor of pharmacy program; and Ryan Pendergast, a mechanical engineering junior from Tustin, California.

The second-place team members, who will share a $10,000 prize, created Soy Spacing Technologies, soy-based construction and glass spacers. They are Ryan DeBusk, an animal bioscience senior of Creston, California, and Taylor Gamble, an agricultural business management senior of Lafayette, Indiana.

A third-place prize of $1,500 was awarded to the team that created SoyPods, soy-based detergent pods. Members are Andrew Cameron, a chemical engineering sophomore of Maple Grove, Minnesota; Xuan Luo, an agricultural and biological engineering sophomore of Zhengzhou, China; and Harshit Kapoor, a civil engineering sophomore of Kolkata, India.           

Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, 

Contact: Megan Kuhn, communications director, Indiana Soybean Alliance, 317-614-0377, 

Note to editors: Photos of the winning teams are available by contacting Megan Kuhn, communications director of the Indiana Soybean Alliance, at 317-614-0377 or

Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson,
Agriculture News Page

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