Teenage science project wins big

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MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Most people know about Ol' Smokey Mountain Moonshine but they may not know that with every drop of shine comes a by-product called mash.

The mash usually goes to waste storage but two teens found a better way to use that mash.

John Hale, 17 and Syndey Burchell, 16 worked for four months with their science teacher Robert Gant to find a way to get rid of waste and they came up with a interesting discovery.

"We took the fungus the blue oyster fungus and we put it with the mash. The fungus fed off the mash, we dried what was left and made it into fish food." said Syndey Burchell.

Since this was a school science project; they had limited funds so they created everything they needed to make the project work!

"We had to make a catfish habitat so we found these two bath tubs and used those to keep the fish in. Then we connected it to two kiddie pools full of plants that will filter the water." said John Hale.

The catfish highly enjoyed the food they made and even saw an increase in some of their catfish's weight. An accomplishment they didn't set out to do when they first started their project.

John Hale said "The real project on this wasn't the catfish growth-- it's the fact that we were getting ride of the waste from Ol' Smokey."

Hale and Burchell won first prize for their project. They will travel to Phoenix in May to compete in the Intel International Science Fair.

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