Microbial concrete, a wonder metabolic product that remediates the defects in building structures

M. Sudhakara Reddy*, Varenyam Achal, Abhijit Mukherjee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Microbes play key geoactive roles in the biosphere, particularly in the areas of element biotransformations, biogeochemical cycling and mineral transformations and formations. Recently, the ability of bacteria to produce minerals such as carbonates has been studied in detail with various uses in civil engineering. Natural processes, such as weathering, faults, land subsidence, earthquakes, and human activities create fractures and fissures in concrete structures, which can reduce the service life of the structures. 'Microbial Concrete' a novel metabolic byproduct of microbially induced calcite precipitation by way of urease (urea hydrolyzing enzyme) presents a promising novel biotechnology for the enhancement of durability of building materials and structures. The ubiquity and importance of microbes in inducing calcite precipitation make microbial concrete a most important metabolic product of biomineralization that can remediate and restore such structures. Urease producing bacteria when added to cement, helps in the improvement of compressive strength, reduction of permeability and reduced corrosion rate of reinforced structure. The promising results using this metabolic product encouraged different research groups world wide and in-depth studies of these different approaches have been discussed in this chapter. The methodologies to such approach have also been discussed. The present chapter suggests a potential use of the microbially induced calcite precipitation process with environmental significance as a safe consolidation tool in remediation of defects in building structures and towards enhancement in its service life.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMicroorganisms in Environmental Management
Subtitle of host publicationMicrobes and Environment
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Pages547-568
Number of pages22
Volume9789400722293
ISBN (Electronic)9789400722293
ISBN (Print)9400722281, 9789400722286
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bacillus sp.
  • Building materials
  • Compressive strength
  • Corrosion
  • Crack remediation
  • Microbial calcite
  • Permeability
  • Sand columns

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