SA scoops grand prize at the Google Science Fair

Kiara Nirghin developed a cheap super-absorbent material to help soil retain water.

Kiara Nirghin, left, with her trophy. Picture: Twitter/@googlescifair.

CAPE TOWN - A 16-year-old girl from Johannesburg has scooped the grand prize at Google's Science Fair in California.

Kiara Nirghin developed a cheap super-absorbent material to help soil retain water.

She reportedly says three experiments over 45 days resulted in her coming up with the "orange peel mixture" as an alternative to expensive and non-biodegradable super-absorbent polymers.

Earlier this week, the St Martin's High School student beat students from across the world for a $50,000 scholarship with her "fighting drought with fruit" submission.