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Students Win Innovation Challenge Competition

Joe Kallenbach and Bonnie Cobb won the top award in the Agriculture Track at the 2016 NDSU Innovation Challenge for their project titled Clean the Cluck Up.

April 4, 2016

Graduate students in the North Dakota State University Departments of Plant Sciences and Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering brought home the top award in the Agriculture Track at the 2016 NDSU Innovation Challenge. Joe Kallenbach and Bonnie Cobb worked together on a project similar to both of their thesis research projects with the guidance of Cereal and Food Science professor Dr. Clifford Hall.

Kallenbach and Cobb won the top award for their project titled Clean the Cluck Up, which proposed a method to decolor corn gluten meal, producing improved high protein animal feed and a highly valuable natural carotenoid for use as a natural food coloring. They were awarded $5000.

The six month Innovation Challenge process began in September 2015 when Kallenbach and Cobb submitted their registration for the competition. After pitching their idea to other students and business leaders in a 60 second presentation, they participated in three more rounds of competition. They also had opportunities to improve their proposal during three Innovation Challenge Boot Camps. The Final Presentation competition was held in February 2016.

Kallenbach and Cobb discussed the methods and impact of their research with Minnesota State University Moorhead's Campus News. Watch the interview at

Kallenbach is finishing a Food Science Master’s Degree under Hall’s guidance. His research is titled Antioxidant Activity of Extracts from Dry Distillers’ Grains, which examines how to extract a substance high in antioxidants from dry distillers’ grains to be used to extend the shelf life of foods.

Cobb is also finishing her Master’s Degree in the Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering with adviser Dr. Scott Pryor. Her thesis is titled Extraction Optimization of Carotenoids from Corn Milling Coproducts and focuses on removing carotenoids from corn industry co-products.

Hall teaches Cereal and Food Science classes and researches the processing and chemistry of raw agricultural products, as well as innovative product development using those raw products. He is the head of the undergraduate Food Science program and heads the NDSU Pulse Quality Research program.

Both Kallenbach and Cobb participated in the 2015 Innovation Challenge in different capacities. Kallenbach took 3rd place in the Agriculture Track and Cobb assisted with boot camps.

The Innovation Challenge is presented by the NDSU Office of the Provost in partnership with the Research and Technology Park to showcase innovative ideas and entrepreneurial skills of NDSU students. Find more information on the program at

Author: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384,
Editor: Kamie Beeson, 701-231-7123,

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