Concerete Healing Bacteria
University of Newcastle, UK
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-modifi ed 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.