The next big new use for corn could be on a roll.
Purdue University students Janie Stine, David Jaroch and Jessamine Osborne have created a corn-based biodegradable toilet paper called Nature’s Silk that took the $10,000 top prize in the 2009 Indiana Student Corn Innovation contest.
“We were sold on the idea of Nature’s Silk from the beginning,” said Osborne, a senior from Evansville, Ind., double-majoring in cell molecular development and genetics. “The idea is simple, but perfect. We couldn’t figure out why this product wasn’t already on the market.”
The other big winners in this year’s competition at Purdue to create new products out of corn and soybeans were soybean-based cupcake liners and biodegradable cork that can be made of both soybeans and corn. The competition drew a record 33 students on 12 teams—nine of which competed in both corn and soybean categories.
“The participation in both the corn and soybean competitions this year was outstanding,” said Mark Henderson, executive director for both the soybean alliance and corn marketing council. “Developing new uses for our crops, as well as building interest among students to work with both corn and soybeans, is essential in building demand for the crops. This is a top priority for our state’s corn and soybean checkoff programs.”
Other products in this year’s competition included a decomposable flowerpot, snow removal and de-icing solution, car wax, paint balls, disposable cups, biodegradable cigarette filters, hydroplaning solution, biodegradable shotgun cartridge casings and a biodegradable garden container.