Applications of microorganisms to geotechnical engineering for bioclogging and biocementation of soil in situ

  • Volodymyr Ivanov
  • Jian Chu
Review Paper


Microbial Geotechnology is a new branch of geotechnical engineering that deals with the applications of microbiological methods to geological materials used in engineering. The aim of these applications is to improve the mechanical properties of soil so that it will be more suitable for construction or environmental purposes. Two notable applications, bioclogging and biocementation, have been explored. Bioclogging is the production of pore-filling materials through microbial means so that the porosity and hydraulic conductivity of soil can be reduced. Biocementation is the generation of particle-binding materials through microbial processes in situ so that the shear strength of soil can be increased. The most suitable microorganisms for soil bioclogging or biocementation are facultative anaerobic and microaerophilic bacteria, although anaerobic fermenting bacteria, anaerobic respiring bacteria, and obligate aerobic bacteria may also be suitable to be used in geotechnical engineering. The majority of the studies on Microbial Geotechnology at present are at the laboratory stage. Due to the complexity, the applications of Microbial Geotechnology would require an integration of microbiology, ecology, geochemistry, and geotechnical engineering knowledge.


Bacteria Biocementation Bioclogging Geotechnical engineering 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Block N1, School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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