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The "Grain Brains", a team of four Kavanagh College pupils, has won the top award in Dunedin's inaugural food science challenge, with a novel product, partly made from recycled pages of the Otago Daily Times.
The team members, Caitlin Spence, Charlotte Steel, Annabelle Weston and Ike Saunders, combined malt grains left over from the brewing process at The Emerson Brewing Company, and pages from the ODT.
The pupils pulped these materials with water in a food processor to create a durable papier mache-like product, which has proved perfect for seedling pottles and weed mats.
Seven teams entered the Dunedin challenge but only four completed their projects.
The food science challenge, which also runs elsewhere in the country, aims to match secondary school pupils with local food manufacturers, introducing the pupils to potential careers in food science.
Chief judge Jennifer McClintock, who is chocolate design manager at Cadbury, Dunedin, said the winning project was environmentally-friendly, and well researched and presented.
University of Otago food science head Prof Phil Bremer said the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology-Crest Food Science Challenge had taken participating pupils, teachers and mentors out of their comfort zones, and produced positive outcomes.
Commended entries were: a Columba College team, working with manufacturer Harraway and Sons, for its well-documented report; a Queen's High School team, with Pasta D'Oro, for project presentation; another Queen's team, with drinks manufacturer Wests New Zealand, for quality of ideas and market research.