Ariel Schwartz

Genetically Modified Bacteria Can Fix Cracked Concrete

by , 11/17/10

concrete, bacteria, sustainable design, green design, BacillaFilla, green technology

Researchers at the U.K’s University of Newcastle have created a new type of bacteria that generates glue to hold together cracks in concrete structures — that means everything from concrete sidewalks to buildings that have been damaged by earthquakes. With approximately 5% of all man-made CO2 emissions coming from concrete production, any way to cut down the necessity to manufacture new concrete is a big deal.

concrete, bacteria, sustainable design, green design, BacillaFilla, green technologyBacillus subtilis

The “BacillaFilla” is a genetically-modified version of a common soil-bound bacteria called Bacillus subtilis that contains cells that only germinate when they come into contact with the pH of concrete. Once away from the concrete, the bacteria self-destructs (thanks to a gene).

When the cells have been germinated, they burrow deep into the concrete until they reach the bottom. At this point, the concrete repair process is activated, and the cells split into three types that produce calcium carbonate crystals, act as reinforcing fibers, and produce glue which acts as a binding agent to fill concrete gaps.

No word on when this bacteria will be ready for commercialization, but we’re hoping it’s sometime soon!

Via MSNBC

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4 Comments

  1. beanangel300 March 26, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    They could make bacterial concrete that is actively beneficial to people. the LKM512 bacteria is published at PLoS one as more than doubling the longevity of mice as a result of producing polyamines like spermidine. if concrete bacteria were also physiologically beneficial then musty wet concrete or wood would actually benefit humans rather than cause illness

    buildings post flood would actually cause wellness rather than sickness as the probiotic laced building materials outpaced the pathogens.

  2. franco3x November 29, 2010 at 8:23 am

    This is the beginning of the bacteria apocalypse…like Terminator except with germs :-(

  3. 4naldestroyer November 21, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    So, say you eventually want to remove the concrete building and return it to dust, how do you stop the bacteria binding it all back together again?

  4. John Spizizen November 18, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    That is not Bacillus subtilis…

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