Iowa State University

Martin Jischke, President, (515) 294-2042
John Anderson, University Relations, (515) 294-6136


AMES, Iowa -- A lawn-care herbicide that uses corn gluten as an active ingredient, an airplane inspection device that readily detects corrosion and internal defects, and a vaccine that helps combat costly salmonella swine disease have won 1996 R&D 100 Awards. Each of these technologies was developed by researchers at Iowa State University.

The three Iowa State winners are the most of any educational institution in this year's competition, said Tim Studt, editor of R&D Magazine, which sponsors the awards competition.

"These prestigious awards exemplify Iowa State's talented and vibrant research enterprise," said ISU President Martin Jischke. "Three awards for such a wide range of technologies, from aviation to agronomy to animal husbandry, is remarkable."

"We are very proud of the individuals who will receive these awards," Jischke added. "They are indicative of the innovative spirit at Iowa State University, and the fact that our research not only explores basic science, but puts science to use to solve real problems and generate real economic opportunities."

The R&D 100 Awards program, now in its 34th year, honors the top 100 products of technological significance that were marketed or licensed during the previous calendar year. All of the 100 winners will be honored at a black-tie banquet in Philadelphia on Oct. 14. The theme for this year's banquet is "The Universe of Innovations."

Corn-fed lawn care

Use of corn gluten as a herbicide was discovered by Iowa State University horticulturist Nick Christians. Christians found that pre-emergence application of corn gluten controls crabgrass and other weeds, providing an environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic chemical herbicides.

The herbicidal property of corn gluten was first discovered during an unrelated study conducted on an experimental golf green. Christians noticed that cornmeal used in the study was keeping grass from establishing. He soon learned the protein from corn stopped root formation.

The corn gluten is non-toxic and commonly is used as an additive in feeds for dogs, cattle and poultry. Christians' development is being marketed under the name A-MAIZING LAWN, by Gardens! Alive Corp., Lawrenceburg, Ind.

Airline inspection

The "dripless bubbler" allows automated, high-resolution ultrasonic inspection of aircraft skins containing protruding rivets. The technology was developed by David Hsu, ISU adjunct professor and senior scientist at the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE), and Thadd Patton, a former ISU graduate student and assistant scientist at the Center.

When the airline industry installed button-head rivets to prevent the recurrence of the Aloha Airlines roof failure, the inspection community had to devise a new technology to inspect the rivets. The protruding rivets rendered conventional ultrasonic scanners practically useless for detecting corrosion, bonding failures and internal defects in aircraft skin structures. Such scanners help assure the flight worthiness of airplanes.

The dripless bubbler can scan freely over surface protrusions and generate high resolution images. It can focus down to 1/32 of an inch, producing an image with 6 to 10 times better resolution than produced with contact transducers. The result is a superior image that was previously available only in a laboratory setting.

Swine salmonella

A vaccine to prevent a costly salmonella swine disease was developed by Theodore T. Kramer, a veterinary microbiologist, and Michael Roof, Kramer's former graduate student. They created a vaccine that prevents swine salmonellosis, a sometimes fatal disease in young pigs.

Sold as SC54 by NOBL Laboratories Inc., Sioux Center, Iowa, the vaccine is unique among livestock vaccines because it is the first to use live salmonella bacteria that have been stripped of their disease-causing capabilities. Salmonella infection is estimated to cost U.S. pork producers about $100 million annually in death loss, reduced weight gains and medical costs.

SC54 is more effective than vaccines made from killed bacteria. In addition, the vaccine can be administered either nasally or orally, which is less expensive and more convenient than injections.


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Diana Pounds, University Relations,
Copyright © 1996, Iowa State University, all rights reserved
Revised 8/23/96

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