Concrete is great building material, but is subject to failure once cracks and fissures develop. Once a crack develops, water begins the process that results in overall failure and the need to replace or repair the concrete. Besides the potential to extend the life of concrete, it is also interesting to use bacteria to "build" things. Normally, we use bacteria to transform or degrade items into harmless building blocks.
Researches at the Delft Institute of Technology have created a way to use naturally occurring bacteria to in effect heal micro-fissures in concrete. Using alkaline resistant spores that can remain dormant for years in the harsh conditions found in concrete, researchers incorporated water soluble capsules containing calcium lactate and spores that only activate when moisture intrudes into the concrete. Once active, the bacteria consume the lactate as "food" and the calcium released binds with carbonates to create limestone which seals the fissure.
Here is a summary of the process with pictures from CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/14/tech/bioconcrete-delft-jonkers/
Erik Rumbaugh has been involved in biological waste treatment for over 20 years. He has worked with industrial and municipal wastewater facilities to ensure optimal performance of their treatment systems. He is a founder of Aster Bio (www.asterbio.com) specializing in biological waste treatment.
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