Technological watch

A Numerical Bio-Geotechnical Model of Pressure-Responsive Microbially Induced Calcium Carbonate Precipitation

The employment of Microbially Induced Calcium Carbonate Precipitation (MICP) is of increasing interest as a technique for environmentally sustainable soil stabilisation. Recent advancements in synthetic biology have allowed for the conception of a pressure-responsive MICP process, wherein bacteria are engineered to sense environmental loads, thereby offering the potential to stabilise specific soil regions selectively. In this study, a 2D smart bio-geotechnical model is proposed based on a pressure-responsive MICP system. Experimentally obtained pressure-responsive genes and hypothetical genes with different pressure responses were applied in the model and two soil profiles were evaluated. The resulting model bridges scales from gene expression within bacteria cells to geotechnical simulations. The results show that both strata and gene expression–pressure relationships have a significant influence on the distribution pattern of calcium carbonate precipitation within the soil matrix. Among the evaluated experimental genes, Gene A demonstrates the best performance in both of the two soil profiles due to the effective stabilisation in the centre area beneath the load, while Genes B and C are more effective in reinforcing peripheral regions. Furthermore, when the hypothetical genes are utilised, there is an increasing stabilisation area with a decreased threshold value. The results show that the technique can be used for soil reinforcement in specific areas.

Publication date: 28/03/2024

Author: Wang

Reference: doi: 10.3390/app14072854

MDPI (applsci)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.