Microbes to cement cracks in concrete

Microbes to cement cracks in concrete
Published: 22 November 2010

UK Scientists have developed a bacteria that can cement cracks in concrete structures by producing a special glue. The genetically-modified microbe has been programmed to swim down fine cracks in the concrete. Once at the bottom, it produces a mixture of calcium carbonate and a bacterial glue which combine to ’knit’ the materials together. The ’BacillaFilla’ eventually hardens to be of the same strength as the surrounding concrete and is designed to make buildings last longer.

Joint project instructor Jennifer Hallinan of Newcastle University said: ’Around five% of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions are from the production of concrete, making it a significant contributor to global warming.

’Finding a way of prolonging the lifespan of existing structures means we could reduce this environmental impact and work towards a more sustainable solution. This could be particularly useful in earthquake zones where hundreds of buildings have to be flattened because there is currently no easy way of repairing the cracks and making them structurally sound.’

The bacterium used by researchers is called Bacillus subtilis and is commonly found in soil.