Advertisement

An Electron Microscope Study of Biomineralisation for Geotechnical Engineering Purposes

  • Stephen WilkinsonEmail author
  • Adharsh Rajasekar
Conference paper

Abstract

Directed biomineralisation, or using microorganisms to cause the formation of minerals, has been proposed as an effective method for permeability reduction and ground improvement. Where the precipitated mineral is a carbonate, heavy metal carbonates (e.g. otavite, malachite/azurite, cerussite, smithsonite, clearcreekite) can form, locking in heavy metal contamination. Where calcium carbonate forms there is an additional benefit of a high pH which, due to the buffering effect, can greatly reduce the mobility of heavy metal ions. Seven bacteria obtained from the soil & landfill leachate environments in Suzhou China, were induced to precipitate calcium carbonate under laboratory conditions within a medium consisting of a calcium source, urea and nutrient broth in a conical flask. Trials within clean sand columns resulted in a permeability which was 1/5 of that of a non-microbial column in addition to relative increases in strength of X3-5. On this basis, it is suggested that some geotechnical works using biomineralisation may be achieved without requiring external sources bacteria. This may be achieved either by isolating and growing the bacteria for application in the ground, or where growth can be achieved, by stimulating the bacteria in situ. An electron microscope assessment of the mineral structures formed by the bacteria indicates that a variety of different crystal forms are generated by the biomineralisation process. Some crystal structures, especially the open crystal structures, are of less use for engineering purposes. This indicates that not all bacteria that can precipitate carbonates would be of use for achieving geotechnical aims.

Keywords

Biomineralisation Ground improvement Environmental protection Crystal structures SEM analysis 

References

  1. Chu, J., Ivanov, V., Naeimi, M., Stabnikov, V., Liu, H.L.: Optimization of calcium-based bioclogging and biocementation of sand. Acta Geotech. 9, 277–285 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. DeJong, J.T., Soga, K., Kavazanjian, E., Burns, S., Van Paassen, L.A., Al Qabany, A., Aydilek, A., Bang, S.S., Burbank, M., Caslake, L.F., Chen, C.Y., Cheng, X., Chu, J., Ciurli, S., Esnault-filet, A., Fauriel, S., Hamdan, N., Hata, T., Inagaki, Y., Jefferis, S., Kuo, M., Laloui, L., Larrahondo, J., Manning, D.A.C., Martinez, B., Montoya, B.M., Nelson, D.C., Palomino, A., Renforth, P., Santamarina, J.C., Seagren, E.A., Tanyu, B., Tsesarsky, M., Weaver, T.: Biogeochemical processes and geotechnical applications: progress, opportunities and challenges. Géotechnique 63(4), 287–301 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Harkes, M.P., van Paassen, L.A., Booster, J.L., Whiffin, V.S., van Loosdrecht, M.C.M.: Fixation and distribution of bacterial activity in sand to induce carbonate precipitation for ground reinforcement. Ecol. Eng. 36(2), 112–117 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ivanov, V., Chu, J.: Applications of microorganisms to geotechnical engineering for bioclogging and biocementation of soil in situ. Rev. Environ. Sci. Bio/Technol. 7(2), 139–153 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Martinez, B.C., DeJong, J.T., Ginn, T.R., Montoya, B.M., Barkouki, T.H., Hunt, C., Tanyu, B., Major, D.: Experimental optimization of microbial-induced carbonate precipitation for soil improvement. J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 139(4), 587–598 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Neupane, D., Yasuhara, H., Kinoshita, N., Unno, T.: Applicability of enzymatic calcium carbonate precipitation as a soil-strengthening technique. J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 139(12), 2201–2211 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Qian, X.Y., Zhang, Q., Wilkinson, S., Achal, V.: Cleaning of historic monuments: looking beyond the conventional approach? J. Clean. Prod. 101, 180–181 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Rajasekar, A., Moy, C.K.S., Wilkinson, S.: Stimulation of indigenous carbonate precipitating bacteria for ground improvement. IOP Conf. Ser. Earth Environ. Sci. 68(1), 012010 (2017a)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Rajasekar, A., Moy, C.K.S., Wilkinson, S.: MICP and advances towards eco-friendly and economical applications. IOP Conf. Ser. Earth Environ. Sci. 78(1), 012016 (2017b)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of WolverhamptonWolverhamptonUK
  2. 2.Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology-Reading AcademyNanjingChina

Personalised recommendations