Teen FoodTech Hero

One teenager on a mission to save the world with vegetable peelings, or how food and chemistry are linked to the "intertwined science web”.

For me, in school, food technology involved making bread and butter pudding and designing an afternoon tea menu. 16 year old South African student Kiara Nirghin is putting my food technology classes to shame in a spectacular way.

The High School student who believes that “food and chemistry are undoubtedly linked in the intertwined science web” has entered Google Science Fair with dreams of combating drought.

This teenage superstar has done her research into the South African climate and has recognised the negative social and economic impact that occurs after a regular lack of rainfall results in poor crop yields. In these dry weather conditions Superabsorbent Polymers (SAPs) are often used to help retain soil moisture and reduce plant stress, which improves crop health.

Kiara has created her own SAP out of orange and avocado peel.

Yup, a 16 year old has found that the polysaccharide bonds needed to make SAPs is found in stuff we all regularly throw away. So, not only has she created a new material that could fight drought and it’s associated issues, but she has made one that is low-cost, eco-friendly and biodegradable!

Essentially it’s 1 material that:

  • makes use of waste products
  • improves drought conditions
  • helps create healthy crop yields
  • positively affects people’s ability to both get proper nutrition and agricultural work 


This young woman could have realistically created something which could actually save the world! I’m excited.

If you could be our next FoodTech hero, please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you and get behind your world changing invention! Give us a call on 01233 224 889.

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