Genetically Modified Bacteria Can Fix Cracked Concrete
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.
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!
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