Photo by Vladislav Nikonov on Unsplash

Article Writer-   Minakshi  Kumari, MSc. Biotechnology , RCA, Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology ,Udaipur, Rajsthan(India)

green Basilisk, a biotech startup based in Netherland has supplied self-healing concrete to the former Dutch Royal Family for renovation. This concrete relies on living bacteria to repair any cracks that might develop in the structure. Bacteria that are used for this include strains of Bacillus pseudofirmus, Bacillus cohnii, and Bacillus alkalinitrilicus, found in the desert region of northern Spain and alkaline lake in Russia.

Green Basilisk seeds concrete with bacterial spores and calcium lactate. These spores remain dormant for years and when water enters due to any crack in the concrete, they begin to digest lactate and produce Carbon dioxide. In concrete’s highly alkaline environment, this CO2 combined with calcium ions to form Sodium Calcium Carbonate, which can seal cracks and prevent further damage.

The pathways, in making Calcium Carbonate, involves cell surface structures, Ureolysis, and the production of extracellular materials. Not only bacteria, but fungi are also used as biological builders on site. Fungi, such as mushrooms absorb nutrients through mycelium and this fast-growing material is now being used to produce building materials.

The development of these Bio-Concretes would help to reduce carbon emission and would prove crucial in sustainable development.

Journal Reference:

Peplow, M. Bioconcrete presages new wave in environmentally friendly construction. Nat Biotechnol 38, 776–778 (2020).