Researchers have found a substitute for plastic microbes that threaten ocean environments and were banned in the United States in 2015.
Samuel Lewis, Steve Ferris and Alison Switzer, recent Doctor of Pharmacy graduates from Purdue’s College of Pharmacy, and Ryan Pendergast, a graduate from the School of Mechanical Engineering, founded the company, SoyFoliate, to make and market their microbes.
Microbes are commonly used in personal care products for exfoliating.
"Soy has several biodegradable and hydrophilic properties that make it a great substitute to plastic microbeads. Plastic beads do not absorb water, and soy can over time,” Lewis said.
“To mitigate the problem we mixed our beads with small amounts of oil to prevent water from saturating the beads and decreasing their rigid properties.”
Lewis said the team started a company in order to efficiently bring the product to market.
“We’ve spent the last year conducting market research, working with industry professionals and experts in the field and getting feedback, which has all been positive,” he said.
“We plan to be the first ones to market an alternative product used in a huge variety of personal care products.”
What they need now is more lab space to complete development and testing.
They hope to licence their technology to companies making exfoliation products.