Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 5, pp 2167–2178 | Cite as

Bio-reinforced self-healing concrete using magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles

  • Mostafa Seifan
  • Ajit K. Sarmah
  • Alireza Ebrahiminezhad
  • Younes Ghasemi
  • Ali Khajeh Samani
  • Aydin Berenjian
Biotechnological products and process engineering


Immobilization has been reported as an efficient technique to address the bacterial vulnerability for application in bio self-healing concrete. In this study, for the first time, magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (IONs) are being practically employed as the protective vehicle for bacteria to evaluate the self-healing performance in concrete environment. Magnetic IONs were successfully synthesized and characterized using different techniques. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) images show the efficient adsorption of nanoparticles to the Bacillus cells. Microscopic observation illustrates that the incorporation of the immobilized bacteria in the concrete matrix resulted in a significant crack healing behavior, while the control specimen had no healing characteristics. Analysis of bio-precipitates revealed that the induced minerals in the cracks were calcium carbonate. The effect of magnetic immobilized cells on the concrete water absorption showed that the concrete specimens supplemented with decorated bacteria with IONs had a higher resistance to water penetration. The initial and secondary water absorption rates in bio-concrete specimens were 26% and 22% lower than the control specimens. Due to the compatible behavior of IONs with the concrete compositions, the results of this study proved the potential application of IONs for developing a new generation of bio self-healing concrete.


Bacteria Concrete Crack treatment Immobilization Iron oxide nanoparticle Water absorption 



This investigation was financially supported by The University of Waikato, New Zealand.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

This study does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mostafa Seifan
    • 1
  • Ajit K. Sarmah
    • 2
  • Alireza Ebrahiminezhad
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Younes Ghasemi
    • 4
    • 5
  • Ali Khajeh Samani
    • 6
  • Aydin Berenjian
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Engineering, Faculty of Science and EngineeringThe University of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand
  2. 2.Civil & Environmental Engineering Department, Faculty of EngineeringThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of Medical Biotechnology, School of Medicine, and Non-communicable Diseases Research CentreFasa University of Medical SciencesFasaIran
  4. 4.Department of Medical Nanotechnology, School of Advanced Medical Sciences and TechnologiesShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran
  5. 5.Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Research CentreShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran
  6. 6.Faculty of Science and TechnologyFederation University AustraliaBallaratAustralia

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