Microbially induced calcite precipitation performance of multiple landfill indigenous bacteria compared to a commercially available bacteria in porous media

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Microbially Induced Carbonate Precipitation (MICP) is currently viewed as one of the potential prominent processes for field applications towards the prevention of soil erosion, healing cracks in bricks, and groundwater contamination. Typically, the bacteria involved in MICP manipulate their environment leading to calcite precipitation with an enzyme such as urease, causing calcite crystals to form on the surface of grains forming cementation bonds between particles that help in reducing soil permeability and increase overall compressive strength. In this paper, the main focus is to study the MICP performance of three indigenous landfill bacteria against a well-known commercially bought MICP bacteria (Bacillus megaterium) using sand columns. In order to check the viability of the method for potential field conditions, the tests were carried out at slightly less favourable environmental conditions, i.e., at temperatures between 15-17∘C and without the addition of urease enzymes. Furthermore, the sand was loose without any compaction to imitate real ground conditions. The results showed that the indigenous bacteria yielded similar permeability reduction (4.79 E-05 to 5.65 E-05) and calcium carbonate formation (14.4–14.7%) to the control bacteria (Bacillus megaterium), which had permeability reduction of 4.56 E-5 and CaCO3 of 13.6%. Also, reasonably good unconfined compressive strengths (160–258 kPa) were noted for the indigenous bacteria samples (160 kPa). SEM and XRD showed the variation of biocrystals formation mainly detected as Calcite and Vaterite. Overall, all of the indigenous bacteria performed slightly better than the control bacteria in strength, permeability, and CaCO3 precipitation. In retrospect, this study provides clear evidence that the indigenous bacteria in such environments can provide similar calcite precipitation potential as well-documented bacteria from cell culture banks. Hence, the idea of MICP field application through biostimulation of indigenous bacteria rather than bioaugmentation can become a reality in the near future.

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7 July

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Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University



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