A US university research team has partnered with the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council to develop biodegradable golf balls, The Morning Sun reported.

Researchers at the Kansas Polymer Research Center at Pittsburg State University (PSU) are working with the council to make golf balls out of soyabean polymers, according to the report.

The two year project was being conducted in two stages, the first focusing on creating the inner part of the golf ball and the second on the harder outer shell, The Morning Sun wrote.

“Our idea is to use soyabean-based materials, such as soyabean meal, to use for the inner core,” PSU chemistry professor Ram Gupta was quoted as saying, “and for the outer layer — you can see this has to be very strong — we are using soyabean oil-based polymer.”

Gupta and his team have created the soya-based material for the outer layer and have started working on the inner soya meal-based core, according to the report.

“Matching the performance of a common golf ball with the bio-based ball will be a challenge,” Gupta said, “because there are lots of things the golf industry is looking for, like how far it will go, how it swings, how it rotates in the air. Those things will be challenge, but I think we can do it.”

Golf balls would not be created at the research centre, Gupta said, due to a lack of the necessary equipment. Instead, the raw materials would be supplied to a golf ball manufacturer in California, who would produce and test them.

The grant-based project was funded by the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, which announced the research venture this summer as one of its soya check-off supported projects, in which farmers contribute one-half of 1% of the sale price of their soyabeans to research, promotion, and education, The Morning Sun said.

Soyabeans are the top crop in Missouri, and one of the top ten crops in Kansas, according to the report.