Glue made from genetically modified bacteria can knit cracks in concrete
2010 11 25

By Niall Firth | DailyMail.co.uk

A bacteria that can knit together cracks in concrete structures by producing a special ‘glue’ has been developed by British scientists.
The genetically-modified microbe has been programmed to swim down fine cracks in the concrete. Once at the bottom it produces a mixture of calcium carbonate and a bacterial glue which combine to ‘knit’ the building back together.

The ‘BacillaFilla’ eventually hardens to become the same strength as the surrounding concrete and is designed to make buildings last longer.


Filler: The bacteria could be injected into a crack in a concrete wall and would self-germinate until it had filled the gap.

Joint project instructor Dr Jennifer Hallinan said: ‘Around five per cent of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions are from the production of concrete, making it a significant contributor to global warming.

‘Finding a way of prolonging the lifespan of existing structures means we could reduce this environmental impact and work towards a more sustainable solution.

’This could be particularly useful in earthquake zones where hundreds of buildings have to be flattened because there is currently no easy way of repairing the cracks and making them structurally sound.”
The bacterium used by researchers is called Bacillus subtilis and is commonly found in soil.

The BacillaFilla spores only start germinating when they make contact with concrete – triggered by the very specific pH of the material – and they have an in-built self-destruct gene which means they would be unable to survive in the environment.

Once the cells have germinated, they swarm down the fine cracks in the concrete and are able to sense when they reach the bottom because of the clumping of the bacteria.

This clumping activates concrete repair, with the cells differentiating into three types: cells which produce calcium carbonate crystals, cells which act as reinforcing fibres and cells which produce a glue which acts as a binding agent and fills the gap.

The microbial glue was designed by students at Newcastle University as part of a major international science competition in the US.


Article from: dailymail.co.uk



Related Articles
Bacteria Can Stand-Up and "Walk"
Bacteria and Phytoplankton Affect the Weather
Alexander the Great Killed by Toxic Bacteria?
Computer-Controlled Bacteria Build a Miniature Pyramid
An Input/Output Device for the Brain - Made of Light, Algae, and Bacteria
Much of Britain was Exposed to Bacteria Sprayed in Secret Trials (The Guardian, 2002)
Too Much Technology Kills Good Bacteria


Latest News from our Front Page

EU on high alert as Germany accepts Ebola patients
2014 07 30
A German hospital has agreed to treat Ebola patients amid widespread fears of a possible outbreak of the deadly disease in Europe. Over 670 people have already been killed by the disease in West Africa with doctors struggling to control the epidemic. A German hospital in Hamburg agreed to accept patients following a request from the World Health Organization (WHO), Deutsche ...
Bolivia declares Israel terrorist regime
2014 07 30
Bolivia has declared Israel a “terrorist state” and revoked a visa exemption agreement with Tel Aviv in protest at the ongoing Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip. The move "means, in other words, we are declaring (Israel) a terrorist state," President Evo Morales said during talks with a group of educators in the city of Cochabamba ...
Pagan Traditions: Mysteries of medieval graffiti in England’s churches
2014 07 30
Medieval graffiti of straw kings, pentagrams, crosses, ships and "demon traps" have been offering a tantalising glimpse into England’s past. What do the pictures reveal about life in the Middle Ages? A project to record the graffiti, which began in Norfolk, has now been rolled out to other areas and is gradually spreading across England. Armed with just a torch and a ...
More Gigantic Holes Appear in Siberia’s ’End of the World’
2014 07 30
Is it the end of the world in Siberia’s ’End of the World’? Scientists suspect not, but they’re still investigating the strange and alarming holes that are swallowing up the Siberian north. This week two new holes have been discovered, and with similar characteristics as the first reported hole: a very deep shaft with smooth sides, debris surrounding the rim, and water ...
BLACKLISTED: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist
2014 07 30
The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept. The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, ...
More News »