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Biomaterial Innovations Take Top Spots in U of G’s Project SOY-Plus Competition

Biodegradable Plastic Mulch, Menstrual Pads And a Plant-based Toaster Waffle

Published 05/15/2020 | By Guelph Now Local News

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Project Soy - Biomaterial Innovations Take Top Spots
Project Soy - Biomaterial Innovations Take Top Spots

Biomaterial Innovations Take Top Spots in Project SOY-Plus Competition

Biodegradable plastic mulch, biodegradable menstrual pads and a plant-based toaster waffle are the top innovations in this year’s University of Guelph Project SOY-plus competition.

The student competition, now in its 24th year, was expanded this year to include innovations using all plant and plant-based products.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, judges viewed online video pitches and digital poster boards of the projects.

Resilience & Dedication During Pandemic

“Students have demonstrated remarkable adaptability and commitment during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research). “With University of Guelph campuses closed and physical distancing in full effect, students have had to adapt when it comes to managing extracurricular commitments like Project SOY-plus, and they’ve done so with tremendous resilience and dedication to research and innovation.”

Students compete in three categories. The first-place team in each category wins $2,500, second is awarded $1,500 and third receives $500. Development costs are covered for all teams up to $300, and each team receives a participation honorarium.

All participants in the diploma category were Ridgetown Campus students, with top finishers as follows:

  • Riley Sharp: B-GON Biodegradable Plastic Mulch made from corn and potato starch that biodegrades after eight weeks (faculty mentor, Prof. Chris Gillard, Department of Plant Agriculture)
  • Christel Andrade: Soybean’s Miracle Facemask, an economical and effective plant-based product (Prof. Milad Eskandari, Plant Agriculture)
  • Michael Cushing: Jug-o-Juglone herbicide using a phytotoxic chemical from black walnut (Prof. Mike Gladstone, Plant Agriculture)

In the undergraduate category, top award-winners were as follows:

  • Domenique Mastronardi: Happy Waffle, a plant-based toaster waffle created with juice pulp, potatoes and soybeans (Prof. Mario Martinez, School of Engineering)
  • Loretta Higgins, Anna Wetzl and Amanda Crerar: Burniderm, a plant-based hydrogel (Prof. William Bettger, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences)
  • Nicole Goetz and Sharan Dadhwal: ChocoBitez, a plant-based, creamy chocolate (Prof. Evan Fraser, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics)

Top awards for graduate students went to the following:

  • Anupjot Brar, Aryana Rabii, Benjamin MacLeod, Gabriel Laplante, HarshinaBrijlall, Jacob Insley, Ryan Cranwill, Schnell D’Souza, Sonja Andrekovic, Stephanie Lim and Trung Hoang: Embrace Biopad, a biodegradable menstrual pad made from soy-based textiles and super-absorbent polymers (Profs. Alison Duncan, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, and Elliot Currie, Department of Management)
  • Maisyn Picard, Kjeld Meereboer and Mateo Gonzalez de Gortari: Green Egg Paper, a sustainable stone paper product (Profs. Manjusri Misra, School of Engineering, and Amar Mohanty, Plant Agriculture)
  • Tara Allohverdi and Mal Hedrick: AgriLife Bio, a biochar soil amendment using agricultural wastes (Profs. Misra, Mohanty and Istvan Rajcan, Plant Agriculture)

This year’s judges were Nicole MacKellar, market development manager, Grain Farmers of Ontario; Tyler Zemlak, business incubation services manager, Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics; Shelley Morrison, project manager, Food from Thought; and Martin Ciuk, technology transfer manager, Research Innovation Office.

Guelph A Leader In Sustainable Research

“The University of Guelph continues to be a leader in sustainable research, innovation and experiential learning,” said Morrison. “Programs like Project SOY-plus encourage students across a wide range of disciplines to explore sustainable and innovative solutions using agriculturally based resources.”

Project SOY-plus is supported by Food from Thought through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

Watch videos from the winners:

Benefits of Entering Project Soy

Cash Prizes

Cash rewards of $2,500, $1,000 and $500 will be awarded to first, second and third place, respectively, in three categories – diploma, undergraduate and graduate.

Get course credit for entering Project SOY Plus

Some professors may allow students to participate in Project SOY Plus to fulfill class projects or project design courses. Talk to your professors if you think that your idea for the contest is relevant to one of your fall or winter courses.

Commercialize your idea

Project SOY Plus is receiving additional support from the soybean industry to make the path to commercialization smoother for Project SOY Plus participants. Participants are given a chance to work with patenting, licencing and commercialization experts in the Research Innovation Office (see link below) to ensure products with market potential are protected and that the students receive assistance in getting their product to market.


Related Links:
Research & Innovation Office at Guelph
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