Sustainable bio-bricks prepared with synthetic urine enabled by biomineralization reactions

C. Fang, T. Mi, V. Achal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this study, mineralization during brick preparation was performed with ureolytic bacterium, Lysinibacillus fusiformis that use urine as a substrate, omitting the heat that is normally required. Artificial urine for reasons of standardization was used to grow the bacterium for bio-bricks made of clay and cement, but their mineralization was enabled by biological activity instead of by heat. Scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersion X-ray spectroscopy were conducted to analyse the microstructures formed by L. fusiformis that precipitated various minerals in synthetic urine. The brick specimens were tested for compressive strength that was 59% more than control ones, whereas porosity of bio-bricks was 13% compared to 22% of control specimens. The minerals formed in the bio-bricks confirmed as struvite, apatite and calcite by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction spectra, were responsible for improved strength and reduced porosity. The research provided evidence in utilizing ureolytic bacteria as a mode to mineralize clay in brick production with the use of (artificial) urine as a substrate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-799
Number of pages7
JournalLetters in Applied Microbiology
Volume73
Issue number6
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • biominerals
  • bricks
  • calcite
  • struvite
  • urease
  • urine

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